Updated Wed, Jun 4, 2014 2:10 pm
Music can evoke a variety of emotions within different individuals and it’s that aspect of its charm that is part of the success and draw of the the Nelsonville Music Festival.
For one local couple, the emotion music from the festival will always be linked to is love.
Elizabeth Atwell and Justin Brumley met in 2009 at the festival while both were volunteering in a beer tent.
Brumley, originally of Cincinnati, was attending Hocking College and studying nursing when he decided to volunteer.
Atwell was the artistic director for Factory Street Studio and worked with Stuart’s Opera House (the organizer of the festival) in the past.
While in the tent, Brumley took notice of Atwell and asked his friend Wendy to talk to her.
“I said, ‘Hey, that girl is really pretty, go find out her story,’” he said.
Atwell told Wendy she had a boyfriend and was about to leave the country. Seemed like a deal-breaker but Atwell and Brumley managed to strike up a friendship nonetheless.
“We hung out and had a good time talking,” said Atwell.
“There was definitely chemistry but we both recognized that we had some things going on,” added Brumley.
Atwell would soon leave for the Republic of Georgia on a Fulbright Scholarship where she studied dance and anthropology. After returning, she sent him a text asking if he wanted to get a drink.
“I said I wouldn’t be available until 10 that night. She said, ‘I don’t turn into a pumpkin until 11,’” Brumley told The Messenger. “I thought, ‘That’s something that a single woman would say’ and made sure we met up.”
Indeed, both were single and they did meet up. One thing led to another and a relationship blossomed. It grew to the point where, in 2013, Brumley had a very important question to ask of Atwell.
The Nelsonville Music Festival played an integral role in their lives and it would serve to play another.
“I’d been wanting to ask her for awhile and it only seemed appropriate to do it here because we met here,” Brumley said.
“I was doing homework all day and I called her mom and dad and said I was going to ask her to marry me. They said that was awesome but that they didn’t know if she’d say yes! I thanked them for the confidence,” Brumley added with a smile.
At last year’s festival, Brumley took Atwell for a walk near the college’s ponds, which were mostly dry and only served as mud holes at the time. Even with a duck swimming nearby, trying to add to the ambiance, Brumley admits it wasn’t the most romantic spot to pop the question. Still, for Atwell, it was perfect.
“I asked her and she said yes, immediately,” said Brumley.
“It was awesome. It was so appropriate,” Atwell said. “I didn’t see it coming.”
The engagement ring is quaint but beautiful and specifically does not feature a diamond.
“I showed her this ring which was the only thing we could afford at the time. I knew if I bought her a diamond she probably would have said no,” Brumley explained.
“I would have been severely disappointed,” Atwell confirmed. “It would’ve meant a major miscommunication if he’d gotten me a diamond.”
Brumley said, “See?”
The two were married just weeks ago on May 10 (their friend Wendy was part of the wedding). This past weekend, they spent part of a planned year-long honeymoon, appropriately, at the Nelsonville Music Festival.
“We decided that pretty much everything we do this year will be part of our honeymoon,” said Brumley. “We don’t have any kids and no plans to have any right now. We don’t have a lot of responsibilities right now. We work hard and play hard. This year will be one big, long honeymoon and we’ll probably stay broke all year.”
Atwell has resumed her work at Factory Street Studio while Brumley works as a nurse at Fairfield Medical Center.
It’s a good bet that the two will be back at the Nelsonville Music Festival next year where the music will once again inspire loving emotions for a happy couple.