Matt Cornette with The Lil Smokies at FloydFest 2018 – photo by Teresa Gereaux
Saturday and Sunday of FloydFest 2018 brought several bluegrass groups to the Dreaming Creek Main Stage. On Saturday, South Hill Banks and Horseshoes and Hand Grenades kicked off the day. South Hill Banks won the On the Rise competition last year, earning their spot on the main stage. The band has a strong Virginia following, and the FloydFest exposure should help this energetic bluegrass band earn a wider following.
On Sunday, the main stage featured bluegrass all day. Mama Said String Band began the day. They are a five piece group from Louisville, KY. It’s awesome to see a group including several young women carrying bluegrass music into the future. Next up was the The Lil Smokies, a progressive group from Montana, who have been recognized with an IBMA Momentum Award. Their show is a mix of traditional bluegrass and many original songs.
The Infamous Stringdusters delivered two engergic sets at FloydFest, first on Saturday night at a packed Hill Holler stage, and then Sunday on the Main Stage. This year’s Grammy-winning bluegrass act showed the audience why they are Grammy winners. A great mix of ‘Duster originals as well as interesting covers kept their audiences dancing.
Floydfest’s new Throwndown Tent was largely focused on bluegrass, whether progressive, newgrass, or more alternate types of bluegrass, like The Native Howl doing their thrash-grass thing late night.
The Workshop Porch stage always has great shows and the talks are informative too. This stage included the Steel Wheels in one of their several performances. They also played the Main Stage. They have a strong string band sound and great harmonies. The Workshop Porch also featured Che Apalache, a Buenos Aires group that combines bluegrass and Latin rhythms to form Latingrass.
FloydFest’s audience appreciates bluegrass and its place in our musical culture. The inclusion of many young bluegrass bands as well as progressive and alternative groups shows that bluegrass is expanding and growing to meet the interests of young and old music fans. Here’s to even more bluegrass at FloydFest next year!