716 Transformers: The Festival Producer

By Nancy J. Parisi

Published on | Last Updated

Jennifer Brazill is founder and producer of Borderland Music + Arts Festival.  It’s a multifaceted weekend-long celebration featuring local and national bands, artists making and selling artwork in former stables, an area for children with farm animals, musical instruments to try, and regional vendors of food, drink, and handicrafts.

Borderland happens on the grounds of Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora, an easy half-hour drive from Buffalo, transforming a quadrant of the 633-acre public park into a well-tuned festival that draws 12,000 music and fun lovers from the region and across the country.

“There are so many layers to Borderland,” Brazill says, “and I’m responsible for everything. I wear every hat of the business — booking the bands, hiring the crew, securing permits, getting all the assets for the site, including fencing, audio, stages, and porta-potties. I look at it as a blank canvas even though I’m not a visual artist. We map it out and then I walk the site with my team and go through every bit of it. I think the reason we are the first people to do any huge event at Knox Park is because I grew up in this community. We’re five generations in East Aurora, my great grandparents ran the railway station on Riley Street. They know I’m accountable.”  

Borderland, Brazill says, has “a very distinct vision and is for all ages and demographics. Someone told me, ‘You’ve really changed my kids’ lives, changed their vision about what’s possible.’ People come in their festival outfits, and it’s an immersive experience.”

Borderland donates a percentage of their proceeds back to the park, Brazill says, “to keep it growing and improving. Every festival weekend we are celebrating our great community, and so many types of creativity, while presenting it all to the region – and the world.”  

716 Tips

“Go to Town Ballroom downtown, there’s so much deep history there. It’s so important to support smaller, independent music venues as bigger corporations are taking over the music festivals and venues. We have to keep that authentic spirit alive. And, when in East Aurora, go to Wallenwein’s Hotel – Wally’s – a pub and restaurant with a great vibe.”

Nancy J. Parisi headshot

Nancy J. Parisi

Nancy is a social documentation photographer based in Buffalo, NY.