I had meant to blog about my favorite festival before this year's version came around, but alas, I ran out of time. Suffice it to say at this point that the Greyfox Bluegrass Festival has been my absolute favorite festival ever since 1998 when I made my first trip to the Hill. Someday I may go back and touch on lots of the reasons why, but for now I'm going to concentrate only on this year.
It was a big year, of course, with the festival having to move location, after 31 years on the Rothvoss Hill. Despite the mystique of the Hill, I for one was super excited for the move....it was a real bear to navigate and work on that Hill and I will be forever grateful that no one was ever seriously injured there, as far as I know. The new location promised to be a much more gentle experience, and I couldn't wait to see it in person.
Lynn and I and grandson Alic arrived on Saturday. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that there was some confusion as to where I could set up, bg< And all of my customers were happy with the setup and that's the main focus for me.
And the Greyfox staff has alot of big decisions to make concerning lots of different festival policies....from chair height to parking to vendors to stage placement; and the list can go on and on. I have the utmost of confidence in these folks to gather lots of opinions and try to sort them out as to what's best for the vast majority of the attendees. There's no way that everyone will always be pleased, but Mary and co. will do their best to please as many folks as they can. It is a tough job....
The Start of The Setup
There was music!! I am happy to report that the lineup was stellar as usual! Much thanks goes out to Chuck Wentworth for always putting together a top-notch musical experience. There were a few bands that I wasn't familiar with, such as Missy Raines & the New Hip; Kindling Stone; and Gravity...but I was well aware of the rest of the lineup and this caused me to smile long before the festival even started! Long time favorites such as the Dry Branch Fire Squad, Tim O'Brien, The Wilders, Jerry Douglas, the Del McCoury Band, and Adrienne Young & Little Sadie all put on their usual wonderful shows. Also, newer favorites such as Uncle Earl, The Greencards, Red Stick Ramblers, Chatham County Line, the Infamous Stringdusters, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, and Abigail Washburn & Sparrow Quartet each made their high musical marks in my book. Superb music all around... Plus, I missed what I know are top-line bands such as the Gibson Brothers and The SteelDrivers. I also really liked David Grisman's Bluegrass Experience...the Dawg certainly knows his way around the bluegrass!
Steep Canyon Rangers
Missy Raines & the New Hip
And a huge favorite show, one where I laughed, cried, and was astounded by was the Hot Rize/Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers show! I have seen Hot Rize and their traveling buddies several times over the years, and this particular show definitely has stood out for me. It was a magical set, and the Trailblazers part of it had me in stitches all the while....and as an added bonus, I happened to run into Elmo backstage as he was duck-taping the fringe on his fiddle in preparation for his Trailblazer appearance. He was happy to see me and then lamented that he had forgotten his cowboy hat....I was more than willing to let him use mine onstage, in fact it would have been a high honor! But my hat was a bit big for him, so he had to fall back on his beret. I would have been way more than estatic if the hat would have fit him...>g<
Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers
Then there is my favorite, and Mr. Bush did not disappoint, as usual! My good buddy Maple Al have a theory that the best Sam Bush show has to have been the last one you witnessed....and that theory held true on that Saturday night. Sammy was hoping to play earlier in the evening but when it was pointed out that he is always a tough act to follow he agreed to the later time on the condition that he play as long as he likes....works for me!! He ripped it up for over two hours in his usual dynamic fashion....new songs, old Sammy songs, and a bunch of old New Grass Revival tunes made for the most exciting set of the festival in my eyes and ears, and I realize that that thought is a broken record on my part. But...I can't help it. Thanks again to Sam, who always gives it his all and then some. He is the King.
As you can tell....I had a great time at Greyfox 2008! I will be blogging Part 2 of my favorite festival shortly...