Strawberry Report: Fresh Bands Off The Vine

This appeared in - May 27, 2009

The four-day Strawberry Music Festival near the western edge of Yosemite National Park is one of my favorite places to check out new music. The spring version of the festival wrapped up last weekend (there’s also a fall Strawberry each Labor Day weekend) and it was a beauty.

Regular Strawberry attendees breathed a huge sigh of relief as the weather was perfectly sunny and warm. Last spring, four days of cold rain pretty much drenched every one’s spirits.

Attendance was noticeably down at the festival (it typically sells out), but for those who came, the lower numbers made for an easier, more tranquil time (easy to park and set up camp, plenty of good places to sit). The chatter was that the recession was the culprit. I’m sure last spring’s rain didn’t help, and neither did a rise in ticket prices — adult four-day passes are now $200.

In my opinion, that ticket is still a pretty good bargin for 21 bands and four nights of camping.

Anyway, I didn’t see every act, but of the ones I caught, here’s who really stood out for me:

Marty Stuart & his Fabulous Superlatives

Marty can continue to wear the big hair and leather pants, because he’s one of the best pickers in the entire world. He’s off the charts on mandolin and he played a lot of great electric guitar as well. I liked the set that went from high-energy electric country to more traditional bluegrass.

By Jim Dyar

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