Here’s an overview of DelFest 2012 from Shannon Turner, along with another batch of photos from Milo Farineau.
Shannon Wayne Turner is a 20-year veteran of the music business, working in TV, radio, Internet and print. She’s spent most of her time in country music, but of late her heart has returned to the bluegrass, folk and old-time strains she grew up hearing in the mountains of her beloved native West Virginia. She believes few things can bring people together like the power of a song.
The fifth annual “five-star edition” of DelFest closed in the wee hours on Monday morning, after a four-day run that saw thousands of music fans from around the continent, weather blazing heat and angry thunderstorms to hear some of the best music to be found anywhere. Emcee Joe Craven called “Delfest Nation” a “consciousness-raising event” that brought 30 different acts to two stages, three late-night jams and various “playshops” throughout the weekend. The fest drew devotees of all ages from all walks of life; baby boomers stood in line for falafels and barbeque alongside families with toddlers and four-day campers haggled at arts and crafts booths alongside day-trippers. Tattoos and tie-dye were right at home with the neckties and sparkly jackets sometimes worn on the stage.
The musical highlights were many. Despite two nasty rainstorms on Sunday, people still came out to see the reigning IBMA Entertainers of the Year, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, who showed the crowd why they were winners with deft playing and Martin’s quick comedy. Other highlights included the Emmit-Nershi Band, the Sam Bush Band, Keller Williams with the Travelin’ McCourys, Yonder Mountain String Band, Béla Fleck and the Bluegrass All-Stars with Danny Paisley, and on and on. Every band seemed in top form, energized by the enthusiasm of the crowd.
Nobody was busier than the weekend’s hosts, however. The Del McCoury Band, in any of several incarnations, played at least once a day, and on Sunday, a few of its members actually played four different scheduled sets, not including a guest spot or two where they sat in for just a few songs. As the strains of the final late-night jam between The Travelin’ McCourys, Leftover Salmon and Del himself faded away around 4:20 a.m. on Monday morning, fans were already excitedly talking about next year. We’ll be looking forward to it!