Drive south from Iowa City, embrace the taste of the gravel dust and make your way to rural Lone Tree. There sits a renovated barn, painted matte black and shaded by a grove of trees.
Over the course of the last five years, owner Luke Tweedy has been turning his acreage on the edge of Johnson county into what he calls a rural recording resort. He's also experimenting with using the barn as a venue for live music, most notably for the Grey Area music festival, which has announced it's 2019 lineup.
Tweedy has been using the festival to celebrate the community and culture that’s growing up at his barn, booking bands that come to record there, and hosting vendors associated with the event's co-sponsor, White Rabbit, a clothing store in Iowa City.
“It’s been fun in the last few years to watch the festival grow as the studio grows,” he says. “This year, I’m really excited to have The Appleseed Cast coming, and we’ll have William Elliott Whitmore back.”
Other acts on the lineup for 2019 include Dead Rider, Tornavalanche, Dana T, Raw Space, and Joseph Charles Cacciatore and the Mourners (formerly Good Morning Midnight).
Grey Area has been a mix of folk, bluegrass and alt-rock, and it will have that same vibe this August.
Iowa City based Karen Meat returns to the Flat Black Studio stage for the third year in a row, with some new antics. Last year, Arin Eaton, the frontwoman for Karen Meat, suspended herself from one of the beams of the barn's stage and hung there singing for part of her set.
For summer festival campers in need of decompression from Hinterland, Grey Area is happening the weekend after, August 9-11. Tickets are $43.47 with fees and are available from Little Village.
New this year, there is parking on site at the Grey Area grounds. Camping is free, and kids 16 and under are also free. Organizers advise attendees to bring a lawn chair and a water bottle.