A renewed Strawberry Park Bluegrass Festival completed a four day run on Sunday after presenting a variety of bluegrass and bluegrass derived music as well as some interesting and high quality Americana bands. The park, for several years in decline, has recovered from the receivership it fell into and been bought by the Florida-based Elite Resorts. They have addressed many deferred maintenance issues, strengthened elements that make Strawberry Park a desirable destination resort, and evidenced renewed commitment to holding a vital, varied bluegrass music festival on the weekend after Memorial Day. They have bought into many of the elements which make bluegrass festivals unique: providing space for the jamming community and waving quiet hours there, assuring a family friendly environment, running continual music from around noon to their own curfew of 11;00 P.M. and more. The reward for this renewed commitment came in the form of better attendance for the strengthened lineup and improved relations with those attending. While the festival has further ground to regain, it's clear to those who attended that problems are being addressed, management listens to and cares about the concerns of fans, and much progress has been made.
My discussion of the bands will proceed more or less in order, while I'll use pictures of bands that appear on two separate days only once with pictures from either or both days.
The Lonely Heartstring Band becomes more impressive each time we see them. The band has assembled a remarkable program of music consisting of, approximately, a quarter classic bluegrass covers showing their skill and respect for their bluegrass roots, half singer/songwriter material written from within the band, and a quarter covers of rock and roll material bluegrassed to perfection. Their rendition of Paul Simon's "Graceland" simply took my breath away. This band showcased at IBMA last year, where they received strong acclaim. They will be touring widely this summer, so look for them in California, North Carolina, Kentucky, and other places. You won't be sorry.
Patrick & George
Our Campsite - Back to Normal Next Year
The Zolla Boys
Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing
The South Carolina Broadcasters
Emcee Jim Christensen
Courtney Hartman & Celia Woodsmith
Lovely Landscaping at a Permanent Site
In One of the Pools
Part of Vendors Row
Sierra Hull Workshop
Sierra Hull in Performance
Songwriter Rick Lang & Bob Dick
New Addition - Water Fountain
Parents and Kids on the Dance Stage