In 2008, Todd Rundgren celebrated his 60th birthday with Toddstock 6.0, a week-long gathering of the Rundgren faithful at his home in Hawaii. In 2013, Toddstock II v6.5 will take place on the mainland at Nottoway Plantation in White Castle, Louisiana. “Normally, I would have waited until a birthday with a zero in it,” Rundgren says. “The first of these gatherings was when I turned 50. Then we decided to do another when I turned 60 and that turned out to be a much bigger event. Now that I’m 65, a lot of the fans have decided that either they or I might not make it to 70.”
Toddstock in Hawaii wasn’t the music festival the name might suggest. While Rundgren did debut tracks from his Arena album, he sees the event more as “my own personal Burning Man” – one that attracted 250 Rundgren fans to become a creative community, with nights spent hanging around his personal tiki bar. A home brewer brought three or four of his brews for the occasion, and people with craft skills started group projects. “What we’re hoping for is that people will have even more creative ideas about what they would like to do and bring the stuff that they need in order to execute that,” he says. “I hope they’ll use their imaginations.”
Moving the event to Louisiana will make attendees’ more outlandish ideas possible. “It’s prohibitive to transport a kissing booth to Kauai, but if they have the opportunity to drive to the location, they can think more imaginatively about the sort of set up they’d like,” Rundgren says.
He chose Nottoway Plantation for Toddstock II, which will take place June 17th – 25th, because in addition to the plantation house, it has grounds for camping and room for improvised creativity. “The plantation offered to plow down a corn field to accommodate the campers,” he says. Rundgren plans to include a musical component as well, but since he will release a new album in April, his performance at Toddstock II won’t be the world premiere that his performance of Arena was.
Although Rundgren is known for being technologically forward, Toddstock was very much about the natural beauty of his home in Kauai, and this time he hopes the proximity to the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge and New Orleans will shape the experience as well. “When you come to a place like Kauai, you don’t go for a high tech world,” he says. It’s about the environment, and that’s one reason we picked the plantation. It’s more than simply a place to set up tents. It’s more about taking advantage of the environment you’re in rather than an artificial environment that could be anywhere.”