2023 Howlin’ at the Moon Music Fest report

Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road at Howlin’ at the Moon Fest – photo © Bill Warren

Wapakoneta, Ohio is the hometown of Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon. Many places and things in Wapa are moon themed. Brad and Lori Lambert named their business Moon City Music and Event Center where a year ago they held the first Howlin’ at the Moon Music Fest on the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.

This past weekend was the second Fest. Music, contests, craft show, food trucks – it was all part of the fun. The local Rolling Thunder veterans organization provided lunch for veterans and families on Saturday. GBS Sound makes all the bands sound their best. The MC duties were split by Arlin Bradford and the Ol’ Hippie, Jerry Eicher.

The Awesome Darlin’s opened the Friday show. They are an Ohio band that gives full measure of traditional music.

Edgar Loudermilk was up next. He is newly signed with Pinecastle Records and has both a secular project and a gospel project in the works. His latest single is My Picasso, co-written by Jerry Eicher and Rick Lang.

The Lady of Tradition, Lorraine Jordan brought Carolina Road to the stage. Lorraine has brought traditional bluegrass music to many stages for over twenty years.

Dave Adkins hit the stage as only he can – wide open! He has evolved into a SHOW! High energy that makes an audience sit up and take notice.

One time Wapakoneta residents, the Pickin’ Pair – Ray and Beth Vining – showed that bluegrass can be learned as adults. This husband and wife duo learned bluegrass after moving away from their hometown, and enjoyed sharing their music back at home.

Harbourtown is a Michigan-based band that has deep roots in bluegrass music. Band leader Jeremie Cole is also the promoter of the Marshall, Michigan Bluegrass Festival.

The Friday night show was closed out by the Howlin’ at the Moon Opry. The show is hosted by a house band, and MC’d by Miss Minnie in the person of Terri Grannis. The band was Adam Burrows on fiddle, Greg Aldridge on dobro, Brian Scott on drums, Lori Lambert/Mikayla Burrows on bass, and Brad Lambert on lead guitar. Lorraine Jordan, Allen Dyer, Wayne Morris, Ray Vining, Beth Vining, Dave Adkins, Tony Holt, Rachel Holt, and Candy Mitchell were among the Opry “guests” who performed.

Won Peace were the winners of last year’s band contest and were invited to open the Saturday show. They did some really good four part gospel harmonies as part of their show.

The Next Paige is a Michigan band that was formed as an arm of Paige Capo. They are a band with deep family traditions. You can jam with them at the Paige Capo booth that is set up at many festivals.

Ottawa County is a northern Ohio band that has played regionally for many years. It is fronted by brothers Joe and Dennis Mitchell.

Kentucky Heritage is an Ohio band with deep Kentucky roots. They provide top notch traditional music.

Larry Efaw & the Bluegrass Mountaineers play the traditional mountain sounds of the Stanley Brothers. Another generation of the Efaw family made his first official appearance as a member of the band. Eighteen year old Chris Wilcox, Larry’s grandson, is the new guitar player. Chris’ father, Stacy Wilcox, has played bass and banjo for the Mountaineers. He is now the banjo player for New Outlook. Larry has surrounded himself with some of the best young talent around. Curtis Coleman on banjo is 19. Adam and Mikayla Burrows are in their twenties. This is a band to see.

Tony Holt & the Wildwood Valley Boys are an Indiana band that are well liked wherever they play. Tony Holt’s dad was the late Aubrey Holt of The Boys from Indiana fame. Tony’s just-turned-eighteen daughter Rachel is now performing as a country/bluegrass artist.

New Outlook is the host band. A tired, but enthusiastic, Brad and Lori Lambert put on a good show. Brad takes the lead with a story about learning to play guitar. He then plays Wildwood Flower as it might be played by different artists. He finished with the Larry Efaw way – 120 miles an hour!!!

Kevin Prater has joined the youth movement with some of his band members. Jake Burrows is on banjo. Mallory Hindman on fiddle is a fresh high school graduate. Nineteen year old Bailey Moore is on bass. Bailey is the nephew of the late Jason Moore. Allen Mills is his great uncle. Bailey is playing Allen’s bass and singing some Lost & Found music.

The Fest was closed out with a nod to the dancers in the crowd. Speed Limit is a group of young men who are excellent musicians following their dreams. The band is headed by “Mitchee” Meadors-Matheson. His is joined by his dad Mitch Meadors. Mitchee’s parents promote Mitch & Cindy’s Bluegrass Festival. The audience enjoyed the high energy of this young group.

The planning for next year’s Fest has begun!

Support your local music venues.