In their 7th year, and still growing, the Red Wings Roots Festival is spectacular. Mother Nature played nicely with 3 days of summer sets with no rain. Although this is primarily a Bluegrass festival (which I am not the biggest fan of if it is exclusively that), the talent of the musicians and vocalist made it thoroughly enjoyable.
There was plenty of shade, plenty of food and craft vendors, free water, a creek, showers, shuttles (not plenty), kind, respectful people, and very kid friendly.
3 great stages (with a 4th that was far away and only showcased local performers). This was predominately a Bluegrass fest, but with a few variations mixed in. The caliber of musicianship was phenomenal at times,
Fireside Collective stole the weekend with amazing fast pickers all around. These guys love their traditional Bluegrass, and render the old songs with brilliant twists. But it's when they let go of the old stuff, and break into their psychedelic funky trips that things get reel fun. Jesse Laquinto (mandolin and lead vocals) is brilliantly talented. Tommy Maher (Dobro and vocals), Joe Cicero (Guitar), and Alex (Banjo) are all amazing pickers. Then there's Carson White laying down the funky bass. These guys can start with a traditional bluegrass song, then take you on a amazing jamming journey, and then bring it all back home.
Larry Keel is phenomenal (fast guitar, gritty vocals). The Lil Smokies (Funky Bluegrass) put on a great show.
I'm sure Lucinda Williams pleased the traditional folks - I skipped that one. Mandolin Orange, the Woods Brothers, Birds of Chicago, all had good moments. Justin Jones has quite the voice.
There was plenty of flat space to find a good camping area. Early shoppers and those with connections can find some great spots. However, the Chimney Ridge campground, where us late purchasers were placed, was quite a distance from the stages. A single shuttle made rounds about every 30 minutes. There would be no breaks at the campsite during the day due to such logistics.
I was fortunate to get great neighbors (Andy and Lynn) who had me laughing often.
The Tribute to "The Pizza Tapes" was awesome, featuring many of the artists that had performed throughout the weekend.
Fireside Collective was so good, I had to crash the Sunday night "Staff Only" party where rumors said they would perform. My honor would not allow me to partake in the free drinks and food (which was a very a nice 'Thank You" from the producers to the staff), but all the stages had shut down and I was at a music festival so I had to at least try. This was a way-cool party. For several mesmerizing minutes, there were 4 brilliant mandolin players jamming together at a picnic table. I was shoulder to shoulder with jamming musicians for hours.
Thanks to Andy and Lynn for being great neighbors; Ian (the Bacon Whisperer) for teaching me a new way to cook bacon; Angie for the info on Floyd Fest (see you there); Jennifer for not ratting me out, and the ride.
Don't wonder why they call it Chimney Rocks
The Chimneys were lit at night with changing colors
Gritty vocals, with super fast guitar picking.
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