Bluegrass Junkie? Look No Further, DelFest Is Your Fest
15 May 2015

The Author

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It's all about the music...


A Preview for DelFest 2015

Allegany County Fairgrounds, Cumberland, MD

Memorial Day Weekend, May 21st – 24th

Written by Alex Kratzert


This Memorial Day Weekend, DelFest will return home to the mountains of Cumberland, MD for four days and four nights of high-riding bluegrass. For avid bluegrass enthusiasts, this festival is its own sort of home, the kind that fuels you to howl to the moon and boogie on into the fine hours of the night, bare soles that can’t help but keep on stepping. For anyone else, it can’t help from becoming the same damn thing. There is a lively spirit in this music that catches anyone with an eye that finds light, the kind of body and mind with an appetite to feel alive. It is a sensational thing, this music – an unworldly assurance that it is a very good thing to breathe, listen and move. It happens in many places and in many forms, but none are such as the form of DelFest.

Blue Eyed Fairy


This festival is located at the Allegany County Fairgrounds, between the green rolls and rocky steeps of Knobley Mountain by the Potomac River. There is something special about music in the mountains, and there will be plenty of lively music at this year’s DelFest. As always, Del McCoury will take the Grandstand Stage with his friends several times throughout the weekend, kicking it off with soundcheck at 4:45 pm on Thursday. With fifty-odd years of singing and strumming, Del is a presence that brightens any who hears him play. There will be many opportunities to catch him at this festival, and I can think of few fair reasons to miss a single minute of it.


Del McCoury Band

Joining Del will be many bluegrass virtuosos, including Old Crow Medicine Show, Greensky Bluegrass and Railroad Earth. Railroad Earth is a favorite of Sparkleberry Lane – they continue to push the limits of this music, finding light in places that you always knew were there but just have yet to be found. Greensky Bluegrass achieves this in their own manner, and they do one of the most interesting versions of “China Cat Sunflower” and “I Know You Rider” that this writer has ever had the chance to enjoy. Along with the spirited flight of Old Crow Medicine Show, these acts Tentsalone make Memorial Day Weekend in Cumberland a wildly attractive thought. And still there’s a whole lot more.

The infamous David Grisman – who has many times made wonderful music with Jerry Garcia, among many others – will be joining Del McCoury for a “Del and Dawg” set, as well as a set with Ronnie McCoury and Sierra Hull called “Mandolin, Mandolin and more Mandolin.” Larry Keel will also be performing, whose wild guitar has joined artists such as Sam Bush, Keller Williams, Yonder Mountain String Band, Little Feat, Railroad Earth, and Leftover Salmon among many others. Leftover Salmon will join their friend on the lineup, and so will Oteil & Roosevelt. Bassist Oteil Burbridge had only just wrapped up his work with the Allman Brothers Band last year, but with his incredible flow and expertise, it seems that his musical exploration has only just begun.

Aside from a wide range of musical acts, DelFest will provide a number of activities including, Movement Playshops, a KidZone and an Art & Craft Faire, along with a great food vendor lineup to satisfy the appetite in between. You will see items such as East Coasters’ recycled neoprene coasters and doormats and you will be welcomed to enjoy rejuvenating yoga and free-wheeling hooping sessions. There will also be several nonprofits setup, as well as a food drive, a mobile phone and device recycling drive, and a raffle from the DelFest Foundation. For those of you who prefer a sober mind while enjoying a festival, Camp Traction will be in attendance to show support and a welcoming grace.

String Cheese Incident performing "Song in My Head" at last year's DelFest

String Cheese Incident performing “Song in My Head” at last year’s DelFest

There is still plenty of time to purchase tickets and plan a trip to sunny Maryland, and it would be a righteous way to spend your Memorial Day Weekend. Weekend passes are available at $195.50 with single, two and three-day passes available as well. If you would like to volunteer, contact DelFest and I’m sure they would be happy to have you on board. As stated on their volunteer page, “DelFest could not happen without our dedicated army of volunteers.” Nor could it without any of you. I sometimes wonder what this world would be like without such great music and free-loving places as DelFest. I can’t imagine, but I am certain that I’d like to have absolutely nothing to do with it. Have fun!


Photos by Hanna Lane

Cover photo courtesy of DelFest

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