The Festy is always an amazing and unforgettable Experience. It seems like each year it gets better and better, as we continue to create life-long memories with more and more fantastic people. Everyone on Team Festy takes pride in providing you with all the options you need to create your own perfect Experience for the weekend. As your host band, we are most proud to curate the weekend’s artist line-up, and wanted to share with you some of our musical highlights from this year’s Festy Experience.
We can’t imagine a better start to a fantastic weekend than sharing the stage with Della Mae. Opening up the main Concert Grounds on Thursday and breaking in The Southern Stage for the early-arrival campers was a blast! It’s always a delight to get to hear the ladies of Della Mae pick, and an even bigger treat to get to play along with them.
Our own dobro player, Andy Hall, inaugurated the 2013 Main Stage by hosting Opening Ceremonies on Friday. In addition to playing his familiar dobro, Hall also laid out a few bluesy tunes on the lap steel, including our nation’s anthem.
When we invited Marco Benevento to The Festy Experience, we knew we’d be in for some fearless and groovy tunes, but we had no idea just how enthralling it would be. Even Travis Book said, “Marco Benevento blew my mind.” Their music alone was enough to get everyone moving, but the crowd went nuts when the bandmates started trading the tiger mask along with their solos.
Saturday was packed to the brim with amazing artists cranking out one phenomenal set after another! Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, Aoife O’Donovan, Chris Thile & Michael Daves, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, Giant Panda… It was non-stop from noon until midnight! Saturday afternoon saw Travis Book and wife Sarah Siskind take to the stage together, this time making their Festy debut as Sunliner. First beginning as a duo, Sunliner added a drummer for their set under The Southern tent to (temporarily?) evolve into a power trio to rock The 4th Annual Festy Experience.
The biggest highlight of Saturday, possibly of the entire weekend (and, dare we say, of any Festy to date), was getting to play a couple of songs with John Scofield during our first Saturday set. Talk about fulfilling a life-long dream! It was so surreal to jam with Scofield on his tune Kelpers. Then, the whole concert grounds were set ablaze as Sco, on guitar, traded solos with Chris Pandolfi, on banjo, during Fire. We had watched the crowd heat up during the amazing John Scofield Uberjam Band. To then see the entirety of the main Concert Grounds pulsating to the beat of the epic back-and-forth Sco-Panda jam… no words can describe the overwhelming feelings of pure joy!
Sunday morning’s precipitation led us to open the main concert grounds early so we could move the 10:30 AM Gospel Hour, a year tradition of The Workshop Stage in Basecamp, to the cover of The Southern Stage. The Gospel Hour, hosted by our own fiddle player, Jeremy Garrett, has come to be known for its guest sit-ins. 2013 Gospel Hour will be hard to top next year, as Garrett’s “sermon” this year was all about family. Whether related by blood, marriage or long-time friendship, you couldn’t look at the Sunday Morning Gospel stage without seeing a few family ties. Long-time friends and musical cohorts Jon Weisberger, Ned Luberecki, Chris Jones and Chris Eldridge (former Stringdusters guitarist), and ‘Dusters brethren Andy Falco and Andy Hall were some of the first to join Garrett on stage; followed by husband-and-wife duos Andy and Janice Hall, Travis Book and Sarah Siskind, and Jeremy and Connie Garrett. The family theme continued as the Garrett clan circled the mics on stage and treated the audience to some good ol’ fashion shape note harmonizing. Of course, no musical family affair at The Festy would be complete without a full-on dusting, so The ‘Duster “brothers” hopped on stage and finished out the Gospel Hour with Let It Go and One More Bridge.
Before Railroad Earth closed out the festival on Sunday, Andy Falco and Chris Pandolfi rocked The Southern Stage as Founding Fathers. Everywhere these guys go, they’ve been wowing audiences with their unique beats, samples and shreds. The constant evolution of their sound makes every Founding Fathers set a unique dub grassy-rock odyssey, and their Sunday performance was no different. Andy Hall even sat in on the lap steel, cranking the shred level to 11.
It seems like every year The Festy Experience gets better and better—and, in spite of the rain, this year was no different. Though the rain was falling, the grounds were still alight with bright smiling faces, crackling campfires, and hot tunes. A big thanks to everyone who shared their Columbus Day weekend with us—friends, family and Jamily from near and far. We all made memories that will last a lifetime, and we look forward to doing it all again next year.