Dunegrass Music Festival: Sunday

Words & Photos By Brandon Picard

Sunday August 8th, 2010:

I’ll start this Sunday review somewhere around 5 a.m. I don’t ever remember rain falling from the sky as powerfully as this. For a solid hour I sat up in the tent with a hopeless hand on the tent, somewhat preventing it from collapsing. Phil, lying right next to me, didn’t bother to even notice the madness. After the storm passed through, and the sun began to rise, I was able to catch a few more hours of sleep. Walking out of the tent in the morning, I sarcastically laughed as I saw my shade tent mangled. The storm had managed to take my shade tent spin it rapid fire into a tight knot, and break 6 of the 12 poles…….Damn.

Oh well. I cleaned up the mess and made my way down my usual path to see what was going on. There was a clear sign of destruction. Tents were collapsed all over the field. I didn’t feel as bad about my tent. I grabbed my coffee from the kind vendor and made my way over to my shady spot for some writing.

Again, the weather was perfect. For the third straight day, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. People were packing their gear and taking off, but I was surprised still that the main stage area was as crowded as the previous days.

I caught the second half of the “Gospel Hour” set. A set I would assume that is open to any musicians playing the festival. The group that gathered was Rachel Davis, Josh Davis, a man on guitar I did not recognize, and fittingly, “The Reverend” Mike Lynch on keys. I sat and wrote about the previous day, with the gospel songs playing in the background. After a quick writing session and a cup of coffee, I made my short walk back to camp to wake up the late riser, Phil. The next 4 hours of music were bands that hadn’t been noted to me, so we took our daily trip down to the lake for some rejuvenation. Instead of taking the shuttle and risking the chance of having to hitchhike back again, we smartly decided to drive ourselves.

Arriving at the beach, it was overly crowded. That’s not what we were looking for. After a solid mile walk south, down the beach coast of Lake Michigan we halted. A massive sand dune sat right next to us. The distance we put ourselves from the main beach area allowed for little crowdedness and some peace and quiet. Phil was extremely giddy to make the climb up the dune. From where we stood, it looked easy. Boy, were we wrong.

We began the trek up the massive sand hill stopping for breaths every so often. Phil’s giddiness quickly turned to sadness as he realized how tough it actually was. Yeah, when I was 8 I could wheel up that sand dune 15 times and not think twice. Now 24, with a fat gut full of nonsense, I struggled to make it up the dune once…….but I did make it, and did take a nap on top.

In no rush to get back to the festival, we kicked it in the water for while. Much like the day before, the water temperature was perfect. Not too cold, yet refreshing. We dried off, made the hike back into town and headed back to Dunegrass.

The first act we caught of the evening was Detour Bluegrass, or just Detour as they liked to be called. I was extremely impressed with the talents this group possessed. The well structured six-piece band showed more confidence on stage than anyone I had seen all weekend. With a beautiful female at the forefront, the harmonies created were untouchable. As I reached for my camera to get some pictures, I came to the realization that my camera had died, and my charger was left on my mantle at home. Hopefully you can create your own images of what’s to come. Anyhow, you could tell folks were impressed. To me, Detour Bluegrass is a band that you may become very familiar with in the new future. With the majority of their songs up tempo, my foot tapped the entire set. From blues to funk, and gospel to bluegrass, Detour Bluegrass was my “sleeper set” of the festival.

After a quick bite to eat, and a gander around deteriorating festival grounds, we were back at the stage for the last few sets of Dunegrass 2010.

Josh Davis, completing his third and final set of Dunegrass, was playing with his band Fool Rooster. I didn’t catch enough of the set to warrant myself a review, but Josh Davis is definitely a talented musician.

The Macpodz were up next, a group that I heard and read a lot about, but had never seen. Hailing from Michigan’s Ann Arbor, the enthusiastic group brought the heat. I was pleased with the grooves they produced. The crowd was visibly excited as well. The jam/jazz band brought an array of tunes. The diverse sounds of The Macpodz had me moving my feet the entire time. I was really happy to see that the majority of folks attending Dunegrass had stuck around for the festivals entirety. The Macpodz completed a solid whirlwind set of musical options, that I was pleased to be a part of.

The final band performing at Dunegrass was Covert Operations. I remembered seeing this band a few years back opening for Particle in Detroit. Like The Macpodz, Covert Operations was musically well rounded. Producing sounds of rock and roll to a steady gospel jam, the group was first-rate. Dropping improv after improv, each musician was able to give their two-sense on which direction the music was heading. As like the two previous nights, there was no shortage of dancing. Many people who had been sitting down the entire weekend must have gained the courage to get their boogey on for the last set, as the front stage area was as crowded as I had seen it. We danced our asses off until the music ceased. Musical acts of Dunegrass 2010 had come to an end.

We stumbled out of the stage area amongst the herd of people. While roaming the camping area, bouncing in between a few musical happenings, I received a phone call. It was nearing 2 a.m. J-man calling from Pennsylvania. “Hey Brandon, I’ve got somebody I want you to talk to” he said. “Ummm, okay” I replied back. “Hey Brandon!” an excited voice chimed in on the other end. “Hi” I replied back. “It’s Bernie” he said. I thought my jaw was going to hit the ground. It was Bernie Worrel, a legend, master of keys, and my idol. I managed to gasp a few senseless words out, and sat back and took in the magical wisdom he offered. “Find the pocket and stay in school” he told me. We chatted for a bit and I told him I looked forward to meeting him someday. We said our goodbyes and hung up. This was the icing on the cake for an amazing weekend.

Dunegrass 2010 once again, for me, proved to be a truly wonderful experience. Like any Festival there were some hardships, but nothing that stopped the great times of a great weekend. I would without a doubt recommend Dunegrass to any music lover looking for a memory filled weekend in one of the most beautiful places on earth.



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