ON October 26th I got the honor of seeing Yonder Mountain String Band for their Halloween party at the House of Blues in Chicago. It was a beautiful night out in the city. The House of Blues is nestled right downtown among all of the stately buildings and bright city lights. The interior of the building is just as impressive as its stately surroundings.
Take one little mountain valley, mix in some mandolins, mud, master brewers, musicians, and some local towns named Roseland and Lovingston and what you get is a well organized and highly enjoyable musical event known as The Festy. Greeted with road signs pointing out Walton’s Mountain, the Patrick Henry Highway and Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest while passing through classic Americana towns on curvy mountain roads; folk’s attitudes were appropriately adjusted before hearing the first song.
Beginning with an Infamous Stringdusters show in August, 2009 at the Brew Ridge Music Festival located at Devils Backbone Brewery in Nelson County, The Festy was born. The Stringdusters and Friends created a festival of their own design located just south of the village of Nellysford in Nelson County, Virginia.
A side project of The Infamous Stringdusters, The Founding Fathers, Andy Falco and Chris Pandolfi combine their strings, pedals and whatever instrument is within reach to form as impressive of a duo as is out on the road today. Their set:
Have A Cigar, Sitting on Top of the World, Ravi Shankar Jam>Listen To The Wind Blow>Ravi Shankar Jam, Fork in the Road, While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Well, it wouldn’t be NedFest without a little rain and a lotta Vince Herman. As the first hopeful few sauntered on to the grounds last Friday, we dared the sky to open up wider and keep pouring down on us. It hadn’t stopped us Nedestrians before (we’re no fair-weather fans) and it certainly was not going to now that Whitewater Ramble, leaving tradition behind, plugged in and opened up the weekend with some lively tunes.
The need to represent some sort of social responsibility is a fundamental ethic for Newgrass quintet Infamous Stringdusters. Instead of throwing an occasional benefit concert with proceeds going to a certain charity, they decided to call their Summer 2013 Tour the American Rivers Tour.
It was the biggest and best small festival I have ever attended. There, I said it. I have started with a boom; a writer’s biggest mistake. There was no building to this statement. The opportunity to hook you with subtlety and humor was lost. If you stop reading now, I have only myself to blame.
Last year I wrote a preview for a festival I had never attended. This year I write a demand for anyone who considers themselves fans of bluegrass. Go to Grey Fox!For 37 years, this festival has been doing it right. It’s the total package.