Yarmony Grass Festival, 8.23 - 8.25.13
Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)
Having made the drive to State Bridge once before, I knew I could expect beautiful scenery, a happening campground, a rowdy shuttle, some quality river time, great music, and a bit of fun. Having known the history of Yarmony, I also knew the weekend would be filled by with appearances by members of one of my favorite bands, String Cheese Incident. The temperature swings in Bond were drastic with shivering nights and smoldering days. I fought both with varying types of alcohol. The first night we arrived shortly after sunset, and set about making a campsite at Rancho del Rio with some friends. Once we joined tent city, we headed to the bus stop to catch the shuttle over to the stage.
The night grew late quickly and I found myself shivering beneath the stars. I bundled up and crawled into my tent, determined to get some rest before Saturday commenced. Sure enough, the sun popped over the ridge line early, and I found myself wandering around Rancho with a new friend and two beers in hand. It was hot and the Sierra Nevada's were going down quicker than Aaron Hernandez. Before long, the campground was bustling with entrepreneurs, sailors, hippies, and more. The sun illuminated the surrounding ridges and gave me my first glimpse of how beautiful Rancho is in the daylight. By noon, I'd polished off as many beers as I typically have all night, and from there continued to get silly. Fortunately, I did pace myself, and therefor never really lost control, and generally just had a relaxing day with new friends and old. Then they broke out the moonshine. With the oppressive sun demanding our attention, we loped our way over to the river and took turns taking dips. Before long, the day was getting away from us, and we decided to catch the bus back to State Bridge.
When the Drunken Hearts took the stage, they brought headliner confidence. Their playing was rehearsed, their energy was high, and they seemed to have as much fun as we did. The performance featured guest appearances by Bill Nershi and Scott Law. Frontman Andrew McConathy, not only knew how to play, he knew how to throw a party. Yarmony has been his baby since he all but reunited String Cheese Incident in 2008, and while the festival has changed locations and size, it still had the love that made it a success in the first place.
That was, perhaps, the best thing about Yarmony. The bands, the fans, and the staff were generally a friendly bunch. People shared the sentiment as people exchanged numbers and promised to keep in touch. And while those words have been hollow in the past, this time things seemed more genuine.
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