The Inaugural New England Festy Brought Barn Burnin’ Wood Brothers, Stringdusters, Greensky And More

first_imgLoad remaining images A beautiful weekend at Prowse Farm in Canton, Massachusetts was filled with the sounds of bluegrass at the inaugural New England Festy, an event best known for having The Infamous Stringdusters behind it. The original Virginia based Festy Experience branched out this year, bringing the sounds of bluegrass to Massachusetts. The event featured free parking, making it an easy decision for families to come out and join in on the fun. With so many activities available for kids, the festival catered to people of all ages. Disc golf, bike demos, a magic show, story time, and a trail side museum kept families busy. Children slept well in the evening, without a doubt. Local vendors provided food, and Oskar Blues Brewery provided cold libations for the adults in the crowd throughout the weekend.The festival opened up on Saturday with Old Salt Union, a fun group based out of St. Louis, MO, who’s sound touched upon hints of blues and jazz blended into bluegrass. The fiddle tones danced across the venue, putting smiles on children and adults alike. Moving over to the main stage, David Wax Museum wasted no time in kicking off their set as soon as the last notes dropped from Old Salt Union. Their colorful outfits jived with the beauty of the day. Joyful tones and quick paced melodies rolled along as they took the attendees through their vibrant set that was packed with everything from jamming rock to cooled down tender songs, giving a little something for everyone.Without skipping a beat, the music moved back over to the second stage where Fruition busted into their set. The army of people started growing as the afternoon wore on. The band drew quite a crowd to the stage where they performed a few tunes off of their new album, Labor of Love, which pumped up the venue and had everyone on their feet. The raw, take no prisoners melodies clearly lifted the audience from the laid back chill attitude of the day to a ‘time to get this party started’ sensation. As they eased out of their set, the music was thrown back to the main stage, where Josh Ritter and company were having a full on blast. Jumping up and down, toe tapping hard, and huge smiles all around were the theme of their set. Tinges of Dylan and Springsteen were hinted at while the band was, without a doubt, having a kickass time entertaining the crowd while the sun slowly made it’s climb down the sky for the day. Following Ritter, Justin Townes Earle jumped on stage and performed his acoustic tunes to a well oiled crowd of musically filled fans. His natural, experience filled lyrics cut right to the heart, yet had fans swaying to his beats in the cool breeze of the evening.After Earle wrapped up his set, the night’s headliner, The Wood Brothers, took the stage and blew the doors off the crowd. Only one of the best bassists out there, Chris Wood, had fans whooping and hollering as he slammed away on his upright while brother Oliver Woods’ soulfully sung lyrics poured out to the crowd. Drummer Jano Rix began the set by pounding away on the wood of his shuitar, a stringless guitar that is packed with all kinds of percussion gadgets, early on in the set before adding in the full sound of the kit. The closing set was crammed with goodness, and fan favorites, including “Luckiest Man” and “The Muse.” Harmonica was sprinkled throughout and Chris Wood switched things up by trading in his upright for an electric bass during a few songs, including “Postcards from Hell,” and wow, did the audience react positively with his magical fingers banging away at the strings. The band poured their heart and soul into the set and the audience was begging them for more when they wrapped up.Though all good things must come to an end, Whiskey Shivers continued the evening over at the second stage. Their animated acoustic set brought them down into the crowd, and even treated everyone to a hilarious “fuck Donald Trump” tune mid-set before wrapping things up for the night. What a perfectly perfect ending to day one.Sunday brought overcast skies with light drops of rain, but the weather thankfully cleared before the music began. The afternoon started with the beautiful acoustic sounds from Garrettgrass Gospel Hour, featuring Jeremy Garrett of The Infamous Stringdusters, with guest Sierra Hull on mandolin. During their set, hawks circled endlessly in the thermals above, making a perfect setting to enjoy the relaxing Sunday opener.With clouds growing darker, Sierra Hull then moved over to open up the main stage for the day. Her angelic voice, combined with ghostly tones and steel pedal heavy, banjo slapping and deep bass melodies, ensured that the vibe in the venue was full of happy people everywhere. It was the band’s first time performing at either Festy, and they thoroughly enjoyed their set on this Sunday that shaped up to be beautiful, without a drop falling from the sky.If you haven’t heard of Lau, definitely check them out. This surprise set of the weekend took off with eerie tones that built with tender touches of guitar and mandolin. It was as if the pied piper himself was in town. People were drawn to their sound. Hailing from Scotland, they brought their captivating music that was a touch of bluegrass, mixed with experimental tones, to the crowd. This trio was clearly not afraid to introduce unusual auditory sensations in with guitar and fiddle. Lau was an absolute joy for the ears. Be on the lookout for more from this band that’s currently on their debut U.S. tour.The Infamous Stringdusters, the major reason for this festival in the first place, finally got on stage to a crowd that was itching to see them all weekend. They wasted no time going into an intense jam early on in their set. Finger picking on the fiddle, along with a serious rosin workout by Jeremy Garrett, with Andy Hall’s dobro and Andy Falco’s guitar chiming in, set the stage for the intense vibes that were thrown out for their entire set. Garrett and Chris Pandolfi, on banjo, took “The Place I Call Home” off to ridiculous heights as they showed off their talent throughout this tune before flowing right into “The Elevator.” “Heady Festy” cooled down the venue after a hot early set. Travis Book kept the flow of the entire set in check as his double bass kept the boys in beat like glue. The collective talents of this group had the venue jumping up and down to their soaker of a set that included covers of U2’s “In God’s Country” and The Grateful Dead’s “Bird Song,” bringing elevated cheers from the audience. Overall, their set was chock full of country, bluegrass, straight up jam, and easy acoustic tunes, featuring a little something for everyone. Many thanks to Scott Medeiros for his taper posting on Archive.org, featuring the full audio of their set:Session Americana cooled down the venue with their relaxed vibes. Gentle guitar tones and sweet lyrics rolled along throughout. They were gathered close together on the stage around a table, making for an intimate set under the cloud filled evening sky. Their timeless melodies brought the audience down to a calmness, especially for families that had kids drifting off to an easy slumber for the night.To close out the festival, Greensky Bluegrass put on one hell of a performance. Early in the set, during “All Four,” each musician was focused on one at a time, taking turns strutting their stuff for the audience and easing with a slow pace to accentuate the talent of each member. Fans went nuts with excitement! Never miss a Sunday show is the staple saying and, with Greensky, it was oh so true. Each melody was drawn out with thick jamming and intense energy. The venue soaked up every minute of it, swaying to the beat and hollering out in excitement at the vibes being thrown from the stage. The set list included their version of The Band’s “Atlantic City,” which always brings down the house, as well as The Grateful Dead’s “Ain’t No Bread In the Breadbox.” A few guys from the Stringdusters joined in on a few tunes,  “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “Little Maggie.” The festival closed out with an encore of “Windshield,” with members slowly backing out of the song to bring not only the song, but the festival, to an end.Many thanks to Robbie Cox for his taper posting on Archive.org, with full audio from Greensky’s set:The debut New England Festy was a great success. The music enjoyed in an intimate setting under blue skies made for one enjoyable weekend shared by families and friends alike. Anticipate next year’s festival to be even better! For more information on The New England Festy, please visit their official website.Words by Sarah Bourque. Follow on Twitter.Photography courtesy of The New England Festy.last_img