Examples of their foresight in offering variety were a stock tank tub full of board games for children to play, a campfire tent near the camping area as a designated jam site (hosted by bands during the day on Saturday and Sunday with a special band to entertain kids), and places around the grounds for variety of entertaining activities. They served a free spaghetti supper on Friday evening for early arrivees. The pace of the day was leisurely and friendly, supporting the statement in their schedule, "We hope that North Branch will come to be know as a place where a person can "Stop and smell the roses," a place where ones inner child can come back out again and play...for the simple joy of playing." Martha Sheperd, an inveterate chaser of jamming opportunities commented that there was "...high quality jamming with a high proportion of jammers to campers" on Friday night. The site will require some minor adjustments to make entrance for large rigs easier, but all-in-all North Branch is off to a very promising start. Labor Day weekend in north/central Vermont seems like an ideal time to attract people to such a delightful sight for an easygoing bluegrass festival experience. The Kennedy's have retained food vending, which offered a limited menu of quality food at reasonable prices.
The music was selected from a variety of local and regional bands of quite high quality. Rather than bust the budget on national touring bands, the Kennedys chose to book local bands and to vary the musical choices away from just offering straight ahead traditional bluegrass bands. Both choices show good judgement and created a musical range that both satisfied and delighted. The day was blessed with nearly perfect weather, an eventuality that has a pretty high probability of being repeated in maintaining an early September date. Since the festival at Thomas Point Beach has retired after a long and successful fun, North Branch is well-positioned to step up and offer excellence at the end of the New England festival season.
Big Spike Bluegrass