The photos in this article were taken by Milo Farineau, and the report is from his son, Kirby.
Only two seasons into its lifespan, Red Wing Roots Festival has already won the love, support, and excitement of the thousands of attendees who visited last weekend. The sophomore incarnation of the music fest put on by The Steel Wheels was held once again at the foot of the awe inspiring and titanic Natural Chimneys of Mount Solon. The chimneys were formed of stone that was hardened by pressure millions of years ago, and were left to stand as they are now after erosion washed the weaker earth away. Red Wing serves as a natural extension of the chimneys, celebrating the roots and influences of music that have hardened over time, and over the years, still stand today.
Local residents and far flung fans, joined together to enjoy a diverse lineup of bluegrass, blues, jazz, and Americana assembled by The Steel Wheels. The first day of the festival was host to genre defying groups like David Wax Museum, The Hackensaw Boys, Trampled by Turtles, and Pokey LaFarge. At the end of the night, attendees were left to wander back to their campsites in awe after a particularly emotional and energetic performance by Larry Keel and Natural Bridge.
The second day of the festival was also saturated with talent, featuring relaxed sets from Mandolin Orange,and The Tara Mills Band. There was a clear shift in energy as the day went on, the afternoon featuring performances full of energy from The Brothers Comatose, and Miss Tess and the Talkbacks. A particular highlight on the south stage was a haunting performance from the recently rejoined Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott. As day turned to night, the performances became more grand and intense; The Steel Wheels performing their blend of Appalachian Americana and Gospel for the crowd. The Devil Makes Three and Yarn finished out the night leaving an ecstatic crowd to continue the party at their campsites and motels.
The third day of the festival, despite its shorter duration, lacked nothing in entertainment. The, hopefully annual, gospel set performed by The Steel Wheels was a perfect wake up. The always crowd pleasing Love Canonplayed a great set at the south stage right before the illustrious and venerable Peter Rowan took the main stage. As he started the set Rowan remarked “We’re might as well pick that old time bluegrass music; they’re going to accuse us of it anyway.”
Very simply, Red Wing continues to impress, improve, and entertain, and I’m sure fans of Americana everywhere are excited to see what the future holds for this band and its festival.