Delfest 2010 Cumberland, MD: Sunday
Article & Photos By J-man
Sunday May 30th, 2010:
The day began as the previous had, with banjo picking ringing in the distance. I awoke feeling crispy due to the fact that I had not been discipline with my utilization of sunblock. Let me take this opportunity to re-enforce the extreme importance of protecting your skin.
At the camp a huge breakfast ensued. I try to eat as much as possible as the thought of dinning later in the day, does not appeal to me until the evening. I slipped over to the late-night venue to plug in my camera battery, download some photos on to my laptop, and write some of the interviews to be conducted later that day.
The first set of the day that I attended was Adam Aijala and Ben Kaufman Duo, also of Yonder Mountain String Band. They were joined for a good portion of their set, by Darol Anger and Larry Keel. The group went from a solid duo to a fiery foursome putting a smile on my face and bringing an almost exponential amount of potential. I enjoyed this set and thought it fit well into the afternoon time slot.
Adam Aijala & Ben Kaufman Duo Live at DelFest, Allegany County Fairgrounds on May 30th, 2010.
After the set I caught up with Adam and Ben:
Wrapping up the interview we hurried over to catch the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience. One cool thing that the "Dawg" does is give a little verbal history about the songs as well as a history of bluegrass music. Along with being an incredible mandolin player his knowledge of the music and traditions is quite extensive. His playing was mind-blowing. He went in and out of bluegrass runs, crossing over to jazz scales only to slide back into that comfortable bluegrass tone. As I glanced around a lot of the scheduled musicians had taken a break to come over and view this legend in the act.
As with most festivals there is a lot of set trimming and schedule doctoring, to fit in what you as the festival goer desires to see. So with that standard practice in place, we clipped the end of Grisman's set to catch the Keel's on the Potomac stage. The smaller stage set up provided for a significantly more intimate show. The set was billed as "Larry & Jenny Keel", though upon arriving I noticed the mandolin player from Natural Bridge was joining them. I thought it odd that their banjo player was no where to be seen. Minutes later their banjo player would be seen milling around backstage aimlessly. The Keels were also joined by their good friend Adam Aijala, as was expected.
Larry Keel Live at Delfest Potomac Stage on May 30, 2010.
After the set I sat down with Larry & Jenny:
A short break allowed for some time to compose the last few interview questions, upload some pictures to my laptop, but most of all; time to sit in the air conditioned music hall. Grubbing was in order so we got into some festival food for the last evening. There is something about Chinese food on the last day of a festival that really excites me. The noodles, the rice, but most of all the spring rolls. Good god, the spring rolls.
The next set would turn out to be the surprise of the weekend. Keller Williams & Friends came out with huge smiles on their faces. Jeff Austin, per usual looked giddy and beside himself, as did Keith Mosley. Keller just couldn't stop smiling and looking down as if almost in a shay manner. Though as we know Keller is not shy. The beginning of the set was all Dead covers, I was intrigued. Then came the picking party with the band being joined by Wavy Dave, Scott Law, Danny Knicely and Joe Craven. They sounded great! Craven stood out to me as being an absolute force on the fiddle. After the picking party Keller, Keith and Jeff were joined by Larry Keel and Darol Anger. They played a handful of songs and ended with "Scarlet Begonias" and "Cumberland Blues". We caught the end of the set in the Grandstands with some friends. What a great shaded place to enjoy one the best sets of the weekend for me.
Keller Williams Live at DelFest, Allegany County Fairgrounds on May 30, 2010.
Following "Keller Plays The Dead" we scurried over to the Potomac stage to catch The Lee Boys. Per usual; they were ripping by the time we walked up. It was nice to catch them during the day as their last set had been indoors and started around midnight. By this time it was clear that Delfest was winding down. Their were noticabley less folks in front of the stage, tents could been seen coming down, and cars were slowly flowing out of the fairgrounds.
The Lee Boys Live at Delfest 2010 Potomac Stage on May 30, 2010.
Following the Lee Boys set I had a chance to talk with Roosevelt:
The Del McCoury Band's last set of the weekend began at 8:00 with a bunch of thank yous and a whole lot of excitement. Early on in the set they played one of my favorites "Dry My Tears and Move On." A few songs further into the set they played the typical yet always solid "Moneyland" followed by "40 Acres and a Fool", two songs that were featured on the McCoury Music's "Moneyland" album/compilation relating to the financial crisis. Towards the end Del brought his brother GC McCoury to sing and play guitar as well as Jerry McCoury on vocals and bass. Eventually David Grisman and Darol Angel joined and the McCoury children came out for the last song. With class, they encored as just The Del McCoury Band and a version of "White House Blues." It was such a pleasure to see the Del McCoury Band all weekend.
Del McCoury Band Live at DelFest, Allegany County Fairgrounds on May 30, 2010.
After the Del set, we drug back to camp and made a dash to the showers. It felt so amazing to be clean and refreshed after a weekend in the sun. My attention for the rest of the evening would be directed towards Cornmeal. They were camped/parked just across the path from our site so I stepped across the way to let them know that I was good to do the interview if they were ready, and they were...
(I spoke with Allie Kral a little bit earlier and told her she could sit this one out, as I had been told that she is not the most comfortable with interviews.)
After our enjoyable conversation, my girlfriend and I took a seat in the air conditioned venue. I uploaded pictures, charged my batteries and relaxed as Cornmeal soundchecked. The gentleman who was running the soundboard came over to talk to us. He had seen me writing and interviewing all weekend and he was curious as to who I was. I told him I was "an important person", we both laughed and he handed my girlfriend and I all access passes. Solid. That now meant I had two tickets for tonights Cornmeal/Bridge show to give away!
The sun went down, the festival was clearing out, everyone seemed so pleased with the weekend. A crowd started to gather outside of the late-night venue. I stopped over to the ticket booth to obtain my last two tickets and to thank the gentleman and young lady for all of their help over the coarse of the weekend. Then as folks filed in, I sought two people to give the tickets to. A young couple caught my attention, as the gentleman flipped through his wallet, I stepped over and handed him the two extras. They were delighted.
Inside Cornmeal took the stage and the raging began. The jams were energetic and often a combination of spacey and explorative. The average tracktime on the set was around ten minutes per song, pointing to a pretty jammy set. Patrick from The Bridge joined Cornmeal on the Tenor sax for a few tracks, but the highlight of the set was when Ronnie McCoury and Jason Carter from the Del McCoury Band joined Cornmeal for a couple of songs. One of which was a fifteen minute version of "Onward". The set was fire and demonstrated why Cornmeal was in fact scheduled for a late night set.
Cornmeal Live at DelFest, Allegany County Fairgrounds on May 30, 2010.
All in all, Cornmeal impressed me. Their professional approach, Their ability to cater to both a day set and a late night set, their level of musicianship as well as musical range. That weekend at Delfest I truly became a fan.
The Bridge was up next, however our weekend had come to an end and it was time to make the short drive back to Upstate, NY.
The Bridge Live at DelFest, Allegany County Fairgrounds on May 30, 2010.
Delfest was incredible. The Allegany Count Fairgrounds were beautiful and a perfect place to host the festival. The facilites, bathrooms, showers and grounds were top nothch and most importantly; clean. The staff were very helpful and focused, many going above and beyond what was expected of them, to see to it that Delest was a success. The music goes without saying; it's the music we love played the way we love it, with passion. Delfest is one of the premier festivals in the country and lives up to the McCoury name, being one of the tops in the business. It is my hope that I will be attending Delfest for years to come.
Thank you so much to High Sierra Music, McCoury Music, Chris, Delfest staff, the musicians, and the festival attendees. It's great to see people helping out, keeping the place clean, and being respectful.
... If you haven't been to Delfest before; go! If you have, I don't even have to tell you... I'll see you next year...