Not that long ago in an Ohio town called Scottown (or maybe “East Egypt”) there was a farm called Eden Valley. It was decided that on the rolling hills of that farm a stage should be built and upon that stage an endless stream of Bluegrass bands should play. Friends and neighbors were invited to come watch, sing and camp. The bands came, too, and they brought their fans. Soon the farm was filled with both strange and familiar faces. It became one big banjo pickin’, jig dancin’, bonfire buildin’ party. An uprising occurred, an Appalachian uprising, and it was decided that it should happen again next year … and the year after that and the year after that.
The Appalachian Uprising music festival — which claims to be the “fastest growing Bluegrass music festival in North America” — is simply a must-attend event for any serious Bluegrass fan. Make plans now — tickets are already onsale for APPYUP 2012, which runs May 31-June 2. (Click here for details.)—-
Last spring held great significance for Appalachian Uprising. It was the festival’s tenth anniversary and the event attracted its biggest crowds ever. AU was headlined by some pretty big names, too, like Nitty Gritty Dirty Band and The Del McCoury Band.
The lineup also included newer acts like The Infamous Stringdusters and The David Mayfield Parade, both of which will be performing again at this year’s Uprising. The Stringdusters let loose with some seriously fast-paced pickin’ and have a way of bringing even the laziest person out of their lawn chairs. (The band is in Covington in March at Madison Theater; well worth checking out.) Then there’s David Mayfield. He’s the big brother of MidPoint Music Festival alum, Jessica Lea Mayfield; both siblings have performed at AU on numerous occasions. When they were young, Jessica Lea and David performed there with their parents. In 2010, David played the fest with Cadillac Sky.
AU offers more than just big names. First, it’s closer and less expensive than larger festivals like Bonnaroo and Telluride. You’ll also find an amusing assortment of festival goers in attendance — there’s the young couple licking splattered bar-b-que sauce off each others’ backs and the Bill Clinton look-alike in overalls trying to get all the girls to dance with him. Dogs wander aimlessly and, at the back of the field, children throw hula-hoops into the air. Everywhere you look is lush and green, warm and friendly. If it’s the 2-3 hour drive you find disconcerting, take the risk. About an hour of the journey is winding around on narrow, tree-lined country roads and dodging fluttering butterflies through, quite possibly, the most beautiful part of Ohio.
When the concerts end each night, the music doesn’t stop. No matter where you wander, you can hear the twanging of banjos or be lulled to sleep by a steady guitar keeping rhythm with the crickets. In the distance, you may even hear David Mayfield bellowing about flying away. Scattered throughout the farm you’ll find campsites (stocked with free firewood) outside VW campers or Toyota Priuses (Prii?). At any given spot you’ll be offered a swig from a Mason jar or something hot off the grill. Bring your guitar, pull up a log, take a swig of moonshine and make new friends for a few days. And, please, whatever you do, look out for wild drummers on four-wheelers.
If you’re not impressed yet, check out this year’s early lineup announcements:
The Punch Brothers
Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
The Infamous Stringdusters
Don Rigsby and Midnight Call
The Dave Mayfield Parade
Jessica Lea Mayfield
Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain
Johnny Staats and The Delivery Boys
Chris Jones and The Nightdrivers
Cumberland River Band
Sasha Colette and The Magnolias
Rumpke Mountain Boys
Billy Two Shoes