Saturday, April 25, 2009

Merlefest - Friday

Despite being a dry festival, Merlefest is proving it is one of the most exciting musical events we have attended. Not only is the music incredible but attendees have immediate access to the artists. Want to say Hi to Jim Lauderdale. Walk on up. The same applies to Tift Merritt, The Duhks, the Spring Creek Bluegrass Band, Bearfoot, and the other dozens of artists performing each day. This festival is also fascinating from the hundreds of attendees who carry their own instruments onto the grounds and perform at the pickin' tents or the coffeehouse. The festival for the proletariat. In a similar fashion we witnessed the Jim Lauderdale hosted songwriter competition held at the Chris Austion stage. Almost a thousand songwriters submitted entries and only 3 were selected in four categories: Bluegrass, Gospel, Country, and General. The caliber of the songs and musicians were better than the standard Nashville fare. But the highlight of the day was Donna the Buffalo, who performed twice, once at the Hillside stage and then in the Dance tent. Both shows were awesome, but the dance performance was unbelievable. Add in appearances from Jim Lauderdale and Leonard Podolak of The Duhks, and it was a special evening. Check back later this week for expanded coverage.

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