Monday, April 5, 2010

The Keel Family Function 2010

Black Betty and I are back from an absolute gem of a little music festival, which was held at the beautiful and idyllic Cherokee Farms near LaFayette, Georgia. This was the second installment of the Keel Family Function, named for our favorite flat pickin' guitar guru, Larry Keel.

The festival crowd was small, friendly, and intimate; the music was the finest, anywhere, anytime, and the camping was perfect. There was plenty of space to spread your camp out on the grassy green fields on the rolling farm land. We quickly claimed a breezy hilltop, overlooking the main stage area on which we set up our festival camp also known as "Gnometown". We were joined there by a couple of families from the Atlanta area, with whose company we enjoyed the weekend. There were lots of family and kid friendly activities including a Saturday moring kids jam. As usual, Black Betty and I brought our bicycles along and had fun riding up and down the hilly property. There was a small vending area set up around the two stages with limited food, beer, artist merchandise, t-shirts, tie-dye, and assorted hippie arts and crafts. One unique thing about the festival was the stages were wind and solar powered, with a back up bio-fuel generator to keep things green and off grid. The music went long and late into the night. Friday night the sleeping was somewhat difficult, but by Saturday night, I was so exhausted that I just slept right thru the late-night jams.

This year Larry's family included, among many others, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Col. Bruce Hampton and the Quark Alliance, the Pond Farm Pickers, The Mosiers Brothers featuring David Blackmon, Bobby Miller and the Virginia Dare Devils, Lefty Williams, Donna Hopkins, Jeff Sipe, Ralph Roddenbery, and the Josh Phillips Folk Festival. I must say at this point that I have failed to mention all the talented musicians in attendance, and for that I do apologize. Everyone really kicked ass!

The highlight (musically speaking) of the weekend for me ended up being the two Saturday afternoon super sets of songwriter showcases in which many of the musicians shared the stage together, talked about and sang their songs, and jammed with each other. Let me tell you, it was some hot stuff! These super jams were worth the price of admission on their own. We are definite converts to this little festival in the NW Georgia hill country and hope that The Keel Family Function resurfaces in 2011, so that we can again attend!

From Keel Family Function 4410
Little Festivarian Anna, chillin' at her 2nd Keel Family Function

From Keel Family Function 4410
Hometown hiker with the Pond Farm Pickers

From Keel Family Function 4410
Black Betty with her favorite bad man of bluegrass, Larry Keel

From Keel Family Function 4410
Super jam on stage with L>R Michael Tolcher,Lefty Williams, Donna Hopkins, Jeff Mosier, Larry Keel. Erin Zindle on Fiddle.