Daily DELights from DelFest ’22 – Day 4

Del McCoury and Sam Bush at DelFest 2022 – photo by Marissa Muldoon

Here are few DELights from DelFest 2022, Day 4, to give you a flavor of this fabulous fest in Cumberland, Maryland. Of course, oh-so much more happened at this DELightful festival.  This only captures some of the moments to provide you a tiny window into life in DELand.

Headliners All Day Long — On a Sunday No Less!

Last day energy was abuzz at morning coffee. Friends staring down the schedule, mapping their plans for how to catch all the must-sees, knowing all of them were must-sees. I mean, Seldom Scene was singing it true earlier than 2:00 p.m., and this was after Dre & the Gospel Collective blessed us with hopes for the year. The Jacob Joliff Band, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, and Sierra Hull all were all throwing down throughout the afternoon on the different stages. The California Honeydrops got people dancing feverishly once again.

All was excellent. A supersonic Day 4 moment was Tyler Childers closing out the Grandstand Stage shows with the Travelin’ McCourys. Everyone at the festival and, probably from the three-state area, were on the field for that one. It was epic.

Then, of course, there was another needed dose of The Del McCoury Band. Just what the doctor ordered.  Impeccable picking and spotless singing in this round also. No surprise! It felt so good to see Del and the fam again as we enjoyed our ride through the waning hours of the festival.

Also, remarkable was Sam Bush performing solo — with a little help from his friends on some tunes. What a special time! He played the mandolin. Man, did he play that mandolin: jamming out alone and then with fellow mando-masters, Ronnie McCoury and Sierra Hull. He played with Del, himself: a reminder of their excellent duo tour from a few years back. He played the fiddle, which is always a sight to be seen and sounds to be heard. I think even those relaxing on the farm lands beyond the rock face cliff reveled in his perfect fiddling that day. He also played guitar. Very cool. He treated us to Circles Around Me on guitar! He played with Jerry Douglas. They gave us a stunning Girl From the North Country.

DelFest Day 4’s music was a complete festival unto itself.

People Coming In Hot, Going Out Cool

It was a sunburnt and sweaty Sunday. But, guess what? The North Branch Potomac River is a natural lazy river ride running much of the perimeter of the festival grounds. Giddy adults and kids proudly marched through the festival grounds showing off their inflatables and swimwear. There were unicorn floats, swan floats, sloth lounge chair floats, double-tubes, triple-tubes, you-name-it-tubes. Cut through some strategically-made well-worn paths and, lo and behold, you are at water’s edge. People hopped in and hopped on to whatever they had and went for a relaxing, refreshing river ride. Those lucky enough to own a float, generously offered them to others to join the fun and cool off. Honestly, even just sitting in camp chairs in the water watching the float parade go by is enjoyable as all get-out. And, just walking back to camp through the crowd soaking wet with a float or damp camp chair made you feel pretty darn cool.

The Vendors, the Tastes, the Kids and the Vibes

Day 4 always makes one soak it all in. It also makes you do the things you have been meaning to do for four days. What about that beautiful hoodie or t-shirt that you had your eye on at Live the Life You Love? Maybe, it is a good time to go hat-shopping with a friend and finally by that cowgirl hat at Sunflower Trading Company. Whatever festival-esque item you were in the market for, DelFest 2022’s Festival Faire had you covered.

Similar with the food. Delfest 2022’s food options were varied and DELicious. From grilled cheese to pizza pie to quinoa bowls to quesadillas. Morning, noon, and night – okay, let’s face it, mostly night or well past midnight(!) – the chefs and their staff served up tasty, life-sustaining treats.

Picking in the gazebo. It is still a mystery how many musicians with their instruments can fit in that gazebo. There was a ring of players circling the outside too. If you like picking, singing, and late nights, this was the place for you.

The kids. How heartwarming to see so many children at the festival, having fun in the organized Kids’ Zone, and making their own fun elsewhere on the grounds. Plenty of entrepreneurial little folks too. Some set up shop to sell arrowheads and crystals while others worked the crowd and bet people a dollar they could make them laugh. I, myself, lost a few bucks from their terrific punchline deliveries. DelDest is a very family friendly fest, and that adds so much to the festival’s joyful character.

All the smiley, friendly people greeting you as you pass each other — with hellos, DELlos, or DELbows. We all got to be young at heart and carefree for a magical four days.

The Goodbye

No tears. Just smiles and waves as people broke down camp and drove slowly toward the exit. Hugs and numbers exchanged with those new-found friends who were perfect strangers just nights before.  Photos of friends for posterity.

If you missed it, what can I say? You should have been there. Keep your eye on tickets for DelFest 2023. I am sure all those present for 2022 will be doing the same.

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About the Author

Jen Hughes

Jen Hughes is a devoted bluegrass enthusiast. An Upstate New York native who resides in Washington, D.C., Jen attends shows in and around the Nation’s capital, a bluegrass haven. She also makes the trek to as many festivals as possible each year. The sweet sounds of New Grass Revival took hold of her in high school and she has studied up on the genre backwards and forwards since then. Her hope is to get even more people hooked as she is on bluegrass music and its extraordinary artists and community.