Monday, February 3, 2014

Seminole Wind Bluegrass Festival - Review

The Seminole Wind Bluegrass Festival ran for its third iteration last weekend. It eludes me why this venue, with so much potential to provide a highly entertaining event in a welcoming setting on the Seminole Indian Reservation near Lake Okeechobee, FL has difficulty attracting a large audience. This year, with a lineup considerably reduced after last year's very promising growth, the event could better be described as a bluegrass gathering featuring almost exclusively familiar Florida bands along with The Roys, who journeyed from Nashville to provide their usual very professional performance and contribute musicians to help supplement the pick-up TBA band.  The event began inauspiciously with chilly, wet weather, but improved continually until Saturday, which was warm and sunny all day. People arriving early were treated to the delightful combination of bluegrass and rodeo, as local cowboys (and girls) practiced calf roping to the strains of a pick-up jam band in the stands.

On Thursday, despite a daylong downpour, hosts Keith and Darlene Bass with the support of Smith Arena manager Amos Tiger provided the meat (beef, venison, and the delicious mountain oysters) while those in attendance augmented it with all the trappings of a first rate pot luck supper. Many were treated to cuts of meat they were unaccustomed to, and the side dishes were super.

Amos Tiger & Keith Bass

A Table Fit for a King

Penny Creek

The first band up on Friday afternoon surfaced as the very pleasant surprise of the weekend. Penny Creek, from around the Melbourne area of Florida, is fronted by the perky and able Sue Pounds on bass. She is ably abetted by Bo Fraser on fiddle and vocals, another picker we had never encountered. Robert Feathers brings his tuneful flat picking to the mix, while Isaac Taylor, whose schedule is limited by his attendance at college, brought his fine voice and banjo picking as well as good humor to the mix. All told, this band deserves more attention than it gets in Florida, and perhaps beyond.

Sue Pounds

Bo Frazer

Isaac Taylor

Robert Feathers

Generations Bluegrass

Generations Bluegrass is well-known in the Florida bluegrass community, a family band who have been around for, as they say, generations. LaRon & April Rogers bring enthusiasm and pleasant personalities, while Bobby Martin and Ryan Clark on mandolin bring speed and skill. Daughter Katie had an exam at the University, keeping her priorities straight.
April Rogers

 LaRon Rogers

Ryan Clark

Bobby Martin


The TBA band, as its name indicates, was assembled from available musicians on site. They acquitted themselves ably with great help from Clint White on fiddle and, in the evening set, Daniel Patrick on banjo, both members of The Roys.

Kenny Price

Danny Stewart

Keith Bass

Pete ?

Clint White

Highway 41 South

 Under the leadership of Mark Horn, Highway 41 South continues to improve and extend its range of performance. They've adopted a single mic format which increases the precision of their band sound. They've also worked hard on stage presence, pacing, and performance values. All this makes them a more interesting as well as more musical band. Dave Beaumont on bass not only provides a solid beat, but brings a dry, wry humor to the band. Their combination of classic bluegrass and country is always pleasing to their audiences.

Mark Horn

Dave Beaumont

Jr Davis

Donny Harvey

Robert Feathers

Keith Bass & Emcee Mike Robinson

Keith Bass & the Florida Bluegrass Express

Keith Bass has assembled this band from all over the state, and they always acquit themselves well. Jason Baker is effective on fiddle and as band emcee, while Clint Dockery's clear singing voice and clean mandolin are excellent. Shayne Stewart works hard and well as lead singer.

Jason Baker

Clint Dockery

Shayne Stewart

Keith Bass

Katy Stewart

Amos Tiger

The Stewart Kids with Grand Mom

The Roys

The Roys have surrounded themselves with a young crew of hot bluegrass pickers to augment their growing command of the genre into a mix of bluegrass and country that audiences enjoy. Lee Roy once again showed his bluegrass chops in a mandolin/fiddle duo with Clint White based on a French Canadian reel. Elaine Roys voice blends very well with her brother and is also a solid solo voice. 

 Clint White

Eric ?

Daniel Patrick

Lee Roy

Elaine Roy

 Brighton Field Day

 The 76th Anniversary of the Brighton Field Day will be held from February 12 - 16, 2014. For more information, click here.