Talent On Display at Sleepy Creek SpringDig
This weekend, we headed on down the road to Sleepy Creek Campground on the Potomac River for their annual Spring Dig music festival. Located just outside of Berkeley Springs, WV, this little campground hosted one heck of a show over the 3-day weekend. We were non-stop impressed by the onslaught of musical talent and the family-friendly vibe that resonated throughout the rain and sunshine all weekend long.
Spring Dig at Sleepy Creek was added to our “Festy GoNuts Spring Tour” after we saw it was a small, intimate festival on the Potomac River and less than a 3-hour drive from our current crash pad. The schedule included a few familiar names, but we were mostly looking forward to seeing The Larry Keel Experience (again). I personally cannot see Larry and Jenny Keel enough in my lifetime, and the entire Keel Experience (with Will Lee on banjo) is just that – an experience not to be missed.
We went for the “early-bird” tickets, since you could arrive on Thursday for just a mere $10 extra. (Hey – that’s cheaper than a hotel and cheaper than most shows!) National Headliner, a local favorite, kicked off the festival with their high-energy psychedelic bluegrass. Their funky jams were just what the festival needed to get people out of the rain-slump and onto the dance floor. Still Hand String Band closed out the evening with an impressive set that had us dancing through the puddles and got us primed for a weekend of funky festivities.
The rain stuck around for all of Friday, but it didn’t put a damper on the talent that played on stage throughout the day and evening. The sun finally graced us with its presence on Saturday, and with it came a much bigger crowd as the locals came out to get down in the mud. With less than a thousand attendees, Spring Dig was truly a special experience. While we were most excited to see Larry Keel, we left completely blown away by the immense amount of talent that played on stage all weekend long. This little festival may not have had big headliners, but don’t tell them that – some of them will be soon!
This rockabilly trio comes from Texas or maybe Tennessee or perhaps Pennsylvania. It’s hard to nail down exactly where they are from, and maybe their travels around the country are exactly what makes their musical style so unique. Urban Pioneers had a sound bigger than anticipated, and less innocent than expected. Their sound ranges from old-time country to hard-core punk, and they exude an equally impressive stage presence to boot. Be prepared to not be prepared for this fast-paced, bass-driven edgy trio.
Every string-heavy festival needs some brass and beats, in our opinion! At the Spring Dig, it was supplied in excess by The Hornitz. Combining beat-box, horns, keys and a whole bunch of funk, this duo out of Boston kicked our muddy little dance party up a whole bunch of notches.
We’re pretty sure we even heard a cover of Dayman (from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and a little Biz Markie!
This 4-piece string band hails from NorthEastern Pennsylvania, where they may have been equally influenced by the grittiness of the industrial communities and the easy-going attitude from the mountain communities. Their driving jams are polished and practiced, and Still Hand String Band can easily take the audience on a bluegrass stomp or a psychedelic trip all in one fell swoop. They define their sound as SpazzGrass, which might be my new favorite style of bluegrass.
Whether this band was “Strung Like a Horse” from Tennessee, or “Strung Like a Horse From Tennessee” was a mystery. Maybe they know something we don’t know about those Tennessee horses, but that’s neither here nor there. What I do know is that this Gypsy Grass band brought a unique energy to the stage that was intoxicating and intense. Imagine your hillbilly Uncle at a Misfits concert – and loving it. http://www.strunglikeahorse.com/
These boys certainly aren’t new to the scene, but it was surprisingly the first time I caught Hackensaw Boys live. They’ve been touring around for almost two decades, and while their members have gone through some major changes, their current lineup definitely puts on a show worth stomping your boots. After all, their percussion is uniquely driven by an instrument called the “Charismo”, which is also the title to their latest album. So, when a guy on stage plays a variety of tin cans and metal plates with wire brushes, you tend to pay attention. They’ve successfully blended old-time country with a new-grass twist that keeps you wanting more.