Saturday, June 25, 2016
The afterglow of NEMBAfest, powered by Pedro’s, continues to shine, and with the announcement of next year's date —June 16-18, 2017— riders are already planning next summer's vacation and those that are camping-averse are now booking their accommodations.
Tickets will go on sale in January at www.nembafest.com.
By all accounts, this year's event was off-the-chart amazing. Clear skies continued through the entire weekend. Pre-registration was up 40% from last year and the total ridership over the three days was a record 5,800. The smile meter was pegged at 11.
The expo area was packed with over 80 bike industry vendors, and riders took advantage of demoing the latest bikes on our dedicated demo loop sponsored by the Outdoor Gear Exchange. After the fest, one rider posted on Facebook "We were thinking of updating our kitchen. That changed when we went to NEMBAfest. We both replaced our 20 year MTBs with new ones." This is music to the ears of people like Derek Griggs of Pivot who had a record number of bikes demo'ed that weekend.
The vibe over the entire weekend was joyful and chill. Everyone wore a smile —hard not to after riding such great trails! But what makes this festival unique is the number of families and kids that come and celebrate mountain biking and father's day weekend. "It's a really healthy and safe atmosphere" says NEMBA's Philip Keyes. "There's a sense of freedom one gets from mountain biking and you can see it in the kids' eyes as they rip around the kids riding zone or bomb around the expo, and you can tell that the moms and dads are stoked that their kids are sharing their own passion. It’s a beautiful thing."
The fest had something for everyone. The morning yoga and afternoon stretching were popular. The woman's skills clinics put on by Mountain Bike Skills Training were well attended. Mike Stedley put on two incredibly talented stunt shows, and Jeff Lenosky (coming off of an injury) put on some mountain bike shenanigans for riders of all ages. And then, of course, there were the rides: fatbike rides, night rides, 'intermellow' rides, epic rides, ladies rides, family rides. So many rides, so little time!
By the late afternoon, everyone seemed tired, but happy, and in need of a nice cold beer at the beer garden. There were two live bands both Friday and Saturday, and true to form, The CopOuts pulled out all the stops and got the crowd hopping with their Irish punk Saturday night.
But while one might think the campground would be rowdy with so many campers, by 11pm all was quiet and everyone was packing it in so they could rest up and ride the next day. “Mountain bikers are a good group,” commented a local policeman, “they like to have a good time but they also want to be in good shape to ride the next day.”
Putting on the NEMBAfest is a huge undertaking, and couldn’t be done without not only the partnership between Kingdom Trails and NEMBA, but also hundreds of volunteers. Riders appreciate th3 fact that people are giving of themselves in order to put on a quality event and you can feel the passion for mountain biking coming from everyone in the community.
As industry veteran, Seth Brosnan, commented, "I wanted to reach out once again and thank you for the opportunity NEMBA gave to Cannondale last weekend. I am humbled and impressed by the sheer magnitude of such a spectacular event. This was the most impactful thing I have ever been a part of in 18 years. My team and I were blown away by the hospitality, professionalism and sheer kindness that was shown by all to all at NEMBAFest. I wish we could do it again this weekend!"
Until next year, check out the NEMBAfest Video Re-Cap!