By: Tom Tappel – Junior, Engineering
After a surreal day one of Bunbury Music Festival, I was a little worried going into day two. Worried, but excited. Worried because I didn’t think I had it in me to go from energetic show to energetic show for seven hours. Excited because, having been in a co-op in Louisville since January, the folk-filled Saturday was perfect for my new redneck influences.
As we made our way to the Yeatman’s Cove Stage for The Zach Longoria Project, the day’s opening act, Cam and I were still discussing Friday’s acts, but as we sat down and the band started playing, we turned our focus to Saturday and didn’t look back.
The Zach Longoria Project came in with a soulful set of distorted guitars, sax and trumpets coupled with a little bit of Louisville twang from Zach and Gina C.
After The Zach Longoria Project, Austin Plaine hit the main stage and, with him, came thoughts of bonfires and lake sides. A few songs into his set, Austin played his song “Hard Days,” and, for a moment, I thought Bruce Springsteen had come to Bunbury. It was a song working to both lament the hardships and drive listeners to keep moving ahead despite them. While this was the most poignant song of the set, the rest of Plaine’s act featured the same feeling throughout with songs like “Beautiful” and “Never Come Back Again,” highlighting that same resilience in the face of adversity.
Finally taking a break from the main stage, we made our way to the Pavilion Stage to check out Cincinnati natives Motherfolk. After their first couple of songs, the band started joking with the large crowd about why they hadn’t been at more of their shows in Cincinnati.
Ever since I started researching bands after Bunbury announced its lineup, Jamestown Revival has been on my radar. Even to the point where I chose to watch their performance over the better-known Decemberists, much to the chagrin of my roommate. The duo of childhood friends played a great set with songs that belonged anywhere from fireside, camping in the woods, to the dance floor of a country bar. After the set was over, we even got a chance to meet up with the band for a quick minute–that’s what really separated them from the pack. They were just humble and grateful. They were genuine.
After a water break we made our way back to the Yeatman’s Cove stage for Lindsey Stirling. From the moment she took Bunbury’s main stage, I could tell it wouldn’t be enough to do her performance justice. As an artist who got her recognition from America’s Got Talent and YouTube, it was no surprise that her hour-long show was just as much about the performance as it was the music. Between her flashed grins, backup dancers and battle with bandmate Jason Gaviati on the keytar, it was the act of the day. The show was capped off with songs featured from “Phantom of the Opera” that ranged from classical violin to her trademark dubstep versions.
I knew Old Crow Medicine Show’s set was going to be one remember as frontman Kent Secor addressed the crowd after the first song of the set saying, “We know that there are rednecks on this side of the Oh-Hi-Yah River.” Now maybe it’s because I’ve been in Louisville for six months or maybe it’s because I forgot to put on sunscreen, but I was feeling mighty redneck as Cory Younts stole the show. Between his drumming, piano playing, mandolin shredding and, most importantly, his dancing, the crowd couldn’t help but move with the music. I never got to hear “Wagon Wheel,” but I’ll be back, Old Crow.
Building on the energy of Old Crow, headliners The Avett Brothers added sentimentality to the day’s set. With songs like “Kickdrum Heart” and “Laundry Room,” my friends and I, along with the rest of the crowd couldn’t help but clap our hands, stomp our feet and do our best impression of line dancing Northerners could muster. We were literally carried away by the crowd. Amidst this, Seth Avett ran into the crowd, still playing his guitar, while everyone in the band at one time or another played on his or her back on the floor. Seth Avett’s solo singing during “Vanity” brought stillness over the crowd, as he poured out his heart for all to hear.
The Avett Brothers encapsulated the diversity of energy and sincerity that lasted the whole day. It seemed like each band, no matter where they fell in the spectrum, had characteristics of each.
For the next day’s review of Bunbury, click here.