Summertime means outdoor music, and this weekend's Mid-Summer Music Fest promises a slate of bands that should go well with sunshine, ribs and beer.
The two-day event will be held outside the Main Street Beer Company in the Fan. Promoter Warren Teller says part of the festival's goal is to bring in bands that are popular in Southern markets such as Athens, Ga., Atlanta and Charleston, S.C., but that are lesser known here. Teller says he knows the groups from past experience as a music promoter in Athens, and he purposely picked them for the festival because he's certain that given the chance, the new bands will find fans in Richmond.
"We just wanted to do something a little different," Teller explains.
The all-ages festival begins Friday evening at 5 p.m. Music starts at 6:45 p.m. and ends at 1 a.m. Bands crank up at 2 p.m. Saturday and play continuously until 1:30 a.m. Tickets are $10 per day or $15 for a two-day pass. They are available at the Main Street Brewing Company, through midsummermusicfest.com, at Plan 9 Records and at the door.
The performers will alternate on two stages under a tent in the lot between the brew pub and the adjacent business just east of the Main and Meadow streets intersection. The show will go on rain or shine, and there are more than 100 parking spots next to the brewery. Plenty of chicken, ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, beans, slaw and drinks will be available for fest-goers both days of the show. Eight Main Street beers will be pouring and Budweiser will also be on sale.
The musical menu is diverse, as well. Nine bands will share the main stage throughout the two days. The Floating Folk Festival will host a second stage, and acts scheduled to appear on this stage include Van Driver, Coyote Run, Yard Onions, Brooke Saunders, Dominic Carpin, Harry Gore and Warm. Each Floating Folk act will play in scheduled slots that alternate with the main stage bands so the music flows uninterrupted.
Main stage acts hail from a host of Southern towns that include Athens, Atlanta, Nashville and Charleston. In addition to the Floating Folk acts, local favorites Used Carlotta, Carbomb, Inc., Cook County Bluegrass and Leon Milmore represent Richmond's contribution to this distinctly Southern-flavored festival.
The Park Chisolm Band opens the main stage Friday with a singer-songwriter, pop-acoustic sound. The Nashville-based, 23-year-old Chisolm's influences include Neil Young and Tom Petty. Chisolm recently received a grant awarded to emerging talent by a national whiskey distillery. Stewart and Winfield follow Chisolm.
Stewart Marshall and Winfield Smith spent 12 years touring as a duo before adding three members to fill out the band's lineup. The group's CD, "Bum's Parade," reveals the band's acoustic rock leanings while accenting its tight harmony talents.
King Konga caps Friday's show. As the name implies, this Hattiesburg, Miss., band is a percussion-driven ensemble that falls into a funky, world-beat bag. There's plenty of drums, bass and guitar, but the band also features the MalletKAT, an instrument similar to an electronic keyboard except that it's played with mallets in a xylophone style. The band played the Emerging Artists Stage at Woodstock '99.
The Low Country Boil Bluegrass Band ventures north from Hilton Head, S.C., to open Saturday's show with some high-speed original music. Only two years old, the group has extensively toured the Southeast festival scene, including a stop at MerleFest. Low Country's CD "Break Me Off Some Bluegrass" features fiddle legend Vassar Clements. Clements apparently thought enough of the band after the recording was finished to make an unscheduled appearance at a Florida festival to jam with the group onstage.
Richmond's Used Carlotta follows Low Country with its finely crafted approach to country soul. The group's recent CD, "Reckless Wheels," is a simple but excellent slice of musical smarts that features the strong songwriting of group leader Louis Ledford. The band's easygoing yet deceptively intense approach is first-rate. Richmond's Leon Milmore takes the stage next with its pop and rock sounds. Cook County Bluegrass, another fine group of local pickers, follows Milmore. Atlanta's Heritage Cherry is up next. The band features one of the main stage's few women vocalists and plays straight-ahead rock 'n' roll. Richmond's favorite late-night party band, Carbomb, Inc., closes the show with its high-energy version of midnight madness.
Promoter Teller says if this festival is successful, similar shows featuring a mix of "new talent, old talent all-around great bands" will follow in the future.
Friday evening, August 4 6:45-7:15 p.m. Floating Folk Festival 7:30-9 p.m. Park Chisolm Band 9: -9:30 p.m. Floating Folk Festival 9:30-11 p.m. Stewart and Winfield Band 11-11:30 p.m. Floating Folk Festival 11:30 p.m.-1 a.m. King Konga
Saturday, August 5 2-3:30 p.m. Low Country Boil Bluegrass Band 3:30-4 p.m. Floating Folk Festival 4-5:30 p.m. Used Carlotta 5:30-6 p.m. Floating Folk Festival 6-7:30 p.m. Leon Milmore 7:30-8 p.m. Floating Folk Festival 8-9:30 p.m. Cook County Bluegrass 9:30-10 p.m. Floating Folk Festival 10-11:30 p.m. Heritage Cherry 11:30 p.m.-midnight Floating Folk Festival Midnight-1:30 a.m. Carbomb,
Style Weekly's mission is to provide smart, witty and tenacious coverage of Richmond. Our editorial team strives to reveal Richmond's true identity through unflinching journalism, incisive writing, thoughtful criticism, arresting photography and sophisticated presentation.
We make sense of the news; pursue those in power; explore the city's arts and culture; open windows on provocative ideas; and help readers know Richmond through its people. We give readers the information to make intelligent decisions.