Sunday provided plenty of excitement and, for some, held the highlights of the 2017 Grey Fox festival. A new event this year was scheduled for first thing Sunday morning. The women from Della Mae organized and led a 5K run at 9 a.m., starting at the Creekside Stage. The run was a relaxed, fun affair and the distance was rather approximate, and did not quite go a full 5 K. But it was a well attended and energetic event, getting folks running together through the campground.
Then about 9:30 many of the volunteers and staff came together for their annual staff photo on the High Meadow Stage. Grey Fox is run by an army of dedicated folks, many of whom look forward to working at the festival each year. The people who have worked on the festival in many ways start to feel like an extended family, and the Sunday morning shoot serves as a family photo to remember the people who came together and added their skills to create one of the biggest bluegrass events of the year.
There are still some top notch touring bands performing on the High Meadow Stage on Sunday, and the grand finale is when the the Grey Fox Kid’s Academy performs the songs that they have been perfecting all weekend. There is the Senior Kids Academy, led by Tony Watt, and the main Kid’s Academy, headed up by Mark Panfil. The kids all learn three songs over the weekend, and perform them on the main stage complete with singing and instrumental solos. The audience is often packed full of proud parents taking photos as the kids show off all their hard work. Many of the kids also took part in busking with their instruments around the campground during the weekend, jamming in smaller groups which they led themselves. All of these opportunities provided by the Grey Fox Kids Academy spark a love for traditional music in many of the students which can last a lifetime.
The Grey Fox Festival has played an important role in the northeast, bringing many people of all ages and areas together to enjoy and discover bluegrass music, as well as providing educational opportunities for people to learn to play it. It is one of the artistic high points of the year for the region. Their mix of activities and music along with environmentally-minded camping has branded Grey Fox as a family friendly event. Moreover, many of the festival attendees have become like a second families to each other. The friends people make there and the sense of community that evolves is a wonderful thing.
I will be looking forward to all the excitement, fun, friends, and great music that will be sure to take over the Walsh Farm for next year’s Grey Fox. See you in 2018!