Once again DelFest will return to Cumberland, Maryland over Memorial Day Weekend. The Del McCoury Band will headline and host the four-day festival and they’ve invited some of the usual suspects like Yonder, The Travelin’ McCourys and The Infamous Stringdusters. Event organizers have also scored a surprise in bringing the Trey Anastasio Band to DelFest for two sets. Anastasio is seemingly returning the favor of when the Del McCoury Band played at Phish’s Camp Oswego festival in 1999.
There’s plenty of other HT faves on the bill including Trampled By Turtles, Old Crow Medicine Show, Greensky Bluegrass, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Spirit Family Reunion. A “The Masters of Bluegrass” set will feature Del, Bobby Osborne, J.D. Crowe, Bobby Hicks and Jerry McCoury.
DelFest @ Allegany County Fairgrounds, May 24 – 27
The 5th annual DelFest, curated by bluegrass legend Del McCoury and his family of bluegrass all stars, took place over Memorial Day Weekend and brought together big name acts such as Keller Williams, Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, and of course all the McCoury bands, from Del Band to the Travelin’ McCourys. As a family-oriented event that’s kept its roots at the Allegany Fair Grounds in Cumberland, Maryland, this festival draws not only kids and parents alike, but all your typical festival-attendees: the flower girls, the bros from college, the hoopers, the Deadheads and all sorts of music lovers. DelFest has always been a destination for bluegrass bands of any size, but this year’s event blew previous ones out of the water with three separate stages, multiple headliners every night and full swinging, dirt kicking, badass bluegrass all weekend.
Spoiler alert: I ADORED this festival. I went in with very little expectations (no offense McCoury clan!) and left the event simply amazed. Everything from the organization and the lineup to the setting, the vendors and the people, this little festival, truly blew me away.
Because of work, I arrived to the festival later on Friday and was enthusiastically greeted by other festivarians as I drove slowly down the tent-lined road to park. Only a small amount of people are able to camp next to their car, so I parked and walked my stuff in to my group who was waiting anxiously for me to get to Yonder Mountain String Band. We made it right on time and with their energetic set, my festival season was in full bloom. I realize I had missed a lot of great music already – Del performed twice, Devil Makes Three and Railroad Earth played on Thursday, while Split Lip Rayfield, Della Mae, David Mayfield and Luther Dickinson has performed earlier that day. But something about that Yonder set made it a perfect way to start an intense season of live music. Like so many of the sets this weekend, they invited special guests on stage to share in the moment – Darol Anger, Tim Carbone of RRE, Jason Carter, and of course Del himself sat in for a couple songs. In bringing him on, Jeff Austin compared Del to Jerry Garcia in his level of influence, and I’ve never seen a happier birthday boy than Jeff was in playing with McCoury; one of the first very special moments at this very special festival.