Though it was far from being my first live event, this year was only my second time broadcasting the Asheville festival, formerly called Electro-Music Asheville (emAVL), and now (and once again) called Mountain Skies. Where last year I got to put faces to names for the first time, this year was about rekindling and deepening the connections we’ve been forging over years of online connection. Nearly the entire RadioSpiral staff were in attendance, solidifying our already-strong sense of family, and placing us in the wider context of the electro- and space-music crowd.

The weekend was magical, and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. For me personally, the magic was in weaving the spoken tapestry that helped to hold the experience together and make it a cohesive whole, and having the chance to jam with artists whom I greatly admire.

Any community event like this requires a team effort — wrangling this many artists on such a tight schedule is an extraordinarily complex affair — and it was a marvel to see people step up at the last minute to fill in the inevitable gaps.

Then there are the collaborations. The connections we make at events like this ripple outward in infinite combinations and permutations, and become new forms. There was magic happening there for me personally, too, in the form of a collaboration with artists with whom I’d never worked, but with whom there was a spontaneous cohesion I never imagined possible.

It was altogether a once in a lifetime experience, and even though we plan to do this again next year, this year’s event will stand out in my mind as a pivot point for many great new things.

The arts are always where change happens.