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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Inside ‘The Camping Trip'

By Autumn Schanil - staff writer

Ian Leifer, owner and organizer of “The Camping Trip,” located on 68 acres of fields and forest in Jeffersonville, happily welcomed invited guests to his property to celebrate “life, love and music.”
KENOZA LAKE — They spoke of being in nature, relaxing, socializing, enjoying good music. They said they came to celebrate life, to make new memories.
An exclusive, invite-only party that, in its own way, emulated the 1969 Woodstock festival, took place on 68 acres of woodland along Swiss Hill Road near Kenoza Lake this past weekend, with owner and organizer Ian Leifer calling it “The Camping Trip.”
Peaceful as it appeared, the festival has been a controversial topic at Town of Delaware meetings for the past few months, and it wasn't until an agreement - with several prerequisites - was reached in Sullivan County Supreme Court last week that Leifer was given the go-ahead for the event.
Parking along Swiss Hill Road was kept to a minimum of 20 staff vehicles, and no more than 400 ticketed guests were allowed to attend. Music was not to be heard past 2 a.
m., and sanitation requirements had to be met.
Close to 400 did arrive, some of them familiar with another local party.
“I'm just a regular festival-goer. Last week I was at the Yasgur Farm Reunion. This is the first festival I've been to that is more culture-minded,” said Robert Malone. “The vibe is really similar to the other festivals, just a bit more spiritual. The music is more spiritual too. A lot of the people here are from the city, and so they're connecting with nature.”
Although not an exclusively Jewish event, The Camping Trip provided its guests with the comfort of keeping Shabbat, or the Jewish Sabbath, while camping. No scheduled music performances took place on Saturday, and a sefer Torah was available for leining (reading with traditional chant). A kosher meal pass was available so no one would be left without hot food.
Ryan Mitro of M & S Farm in Fallsburg brought vegetables with him Saturday to help prepare a soup that fed nearly 100 individuals.
“This weekend has been a really beautiful experience,” said Mitro. “There is a lot of acceptance here, a lot of really wonderful and open people. I'm glad to have been invited.”
The festival and camping event had clear weather for most of the weekend, and although Sunday it began to rain, it didn't stop those still there from enjoying the bands set to play in the afternoon.
“This is my second time here. I came last year, and it was great. This year has been even better,” said David Beck from Brooklyn. “I'm an orthodox Jew, and Ian really catered to our religious needs.
“This has been such an incredible experience being in the trees, camping, and I've met some really amazing people.”

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