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Moon River Festival Pt 2 Day 1 Friends Old and New

Continuation of the 3 Pt series of posts about my experience at the Moon River Festival. For what happened prior to the events in this post, please see Pt 1.

After the weather delay, I finally got through the gates; and to say I found it to be my element would be an understatement. The grounds were set up at Coolidge Park right next to the river. It was sprawled out enough that the two stages were far enough from each other that if the sets overlapped a little you couldn’t hear one from the other. There were open grassy areas around the stages. People stood in the areas close to stages and then were able to put blankets or small chairs further back. Even if you weren’t right next to the stage, you could still get a great view and hear without any issues. There was a great variety of food and drinks and there were plenty of places to go so you didn’t have to stand in a incredibly long line.

The first thing I did when walking through the gates was get a Festival shirt and poster. I’m glad I did because they both sold out before the end of the day. I then checked in with Magnolia record club. They had a goodie bag with a few fun items and then a bracelet that gave access to certain artists for meet and greet. I then walked over and grabbed a bite to eat as it was after 3 and I hadn’t eaten all day. I grabbed a slice of pizza and hoofed it down to catch the last bit of Penny and Sparrow’s set.

I was really excited to see I’m With Her announced as part of the lineup. I’ve been following Sara Watkins, Aoife O’Donovan, and Sarah Jarosz individually for a while and was blown away by their team up. While I had seen Sara and Sarah live individually before, I’d never seen them together. From the very first notes of “Ain’t That Fine” to the closing of “Crossing Muddy Waters,” they were everything! They even did a sublime cover of Adele’s “Send My Love.” I will definitely be looking for the potential to see them again in the future.

After the set was over I walked over to get in line to meet Joseph. I’ve gotten to see these ladies a few times and met them before. I was thrilled to say hi and talk with them for a few minutes. They are always the best. They knew of my struggles getting to the festival and all said they were glad I made it. I can’t talk about Joseph without talking about my friend Kelsey Kopecky who is currently on tour with them. As I was driving down to Dallas I just happened to think she might be at the festival hanging out. I reached out to her, and sure enough she confirmed that was the case. She made it a point to come say hi to me and we got to talk for a little while about our current projects. If you haven’t listened to her music, do yourself a favor and look it up. She’s got more coming on the horizon and I’m so excited. She was also kind enough to record a short video for The Church and the Farm.

Next I was on to see Trampled by Turtles. These guys put on a heck of a show and played all the songs I was hoping to hear from them. My favorite moment was hearing their song “Alone;” it’s my favorite song of theirs and it translates so well live. Next I moved on to see Darlingside. I really enjoy their music as well. My first experience with their music was a song called “The Catbird Seat.” I was a little disappointed that they didn’t play it, but their set was pretty amazing.

At this point, the travel and the standing outside in the heat and humidity started catching up with me so I found a spot that I could sit down and try to rehydrate as much as possible for the rest of the night. I decided not to try to push into the crowd for Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors but instead enjoyed them from a distance. They never disappoint. I have to take a moment here to just say of all the people who have inspired me in life, Drew Holcomb is up there. He clearly has a passion for his craft and sharing not only his talents but also gives a voice to others to share theirs as well. This festival is his passion project and it’s incredible what he’s built. He also had his hand in the Magnolia Record Club and has introduced me to a lot of artists through it that I wouldn’t have heard elsewhere. We could go on for days talking about the many ways he’s involved in charitable contributions. Not to mention he’s just a super humble and genuine person if you ever get the chance to spend any time with him. Drew, if you by some way stumble across this, I just want to take the time to genuinely say thank you for all that you do. I’m inspired to take risks to build and help people where I can in part because of you.

Joseph was up next and I have to say with all of the amazing things that happened this weekend this one set contained so much. Before the show started, someone behind me said sorry for potentially hitting me with a yoga mat. I turned around and found some new friends named Luke and Natasha. We talked a little bit, and I was thrilled to have made a connection with them. When Penny and Sparrow came out to do a brief soundcheck with them, you knew something epic was about to happen. I had seen Joseph 5 times prior to this show, and this one was up there as rivaling their show in Austin in 2017. Highlights were definitely “Wind,” “I Don’t Mind,” whatever the new songs they played were, and “Double Heart” with Penny and Sparrow. I don’t know when their new album is coming out, but I’ll be as close to the front of the line to purchase it as possible.

After the set, I caught back up with Luke and Natasha and we talked a bit more. I wish I had met them earlier to have been able to get them in to meet Penny and Sparrow whom they are huge fans of. I did ask if they wanted to meet Judah and the Lion on Sunday as I could get a plus one in with my Magnolia Record Club bracelet. I gave them my number just in case, and they said their friend Dylan might want to go. We parted ways and I started back up to the bridge to listen to the Head and the Heart and get to my car. It was a day that brought me great joy in so many ways and I felt blessed to have gotten to experience it.

Stay tuned for part 3

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