Many of the volunteer staff members have already been at Hoover-Y Park for several days lining the camping fields, laying out the parking areas, directing the deliveries of porta-johns, erecting small tents, and undertaking all the small, often un-noticed tasks that putting on a large festival requires. Early-bird campers have been arriving since Sunday, putting up tents, settling in, jamming, and watching the small, soon to erupt community begin to form.
The Tennessee Mafie Jug Band hearkens back to the pre-bluegrass days of string band music, while Leroy Troy has resurrected many of the songs and routines of Uncle Dave Macon, a pioneer old-time banjo player. The band is filled with humor and tomfoolery, the kind of band that provides much needed change-of-pace humor and entertainment at a bluegrass festival.
David Parmley has returned to touring with a solid band of former members of the Bluegrass Cardinals, reprising much of the material from the band he grew up in under his father, who sadly passed away last week. This is a good band, especially for those with a strong nostalgia for the 1980's and 1990's. My apologies to Doug Barlett, who plays mandolin in this band, for not being able to get a usable photo.
Filled with soul and sincerity, Marty Raybon has had successful careers in both bluegrass and country music. Last year we enjoyed seeing him with his country band, Shenandoah. This year he returned with his bluegrass band. Each is distinctive in its genre and represents well its own unique content and excitement. Marty's one of the best.
Hall of Famer Larry Sparks closed out Thursday night with a set full of his songs, which have become bluegrass standards over his more than fifty year career. Beginning with time spent with the Stanley Brothers, Sparks has established a record for fine singing and strong guitar playing in his own band. He can still bring it!