Meadow Mountain

Recap: Basin Bluegrass Festival

On the night of July 13, 2018, Meadow Mountain drove through the thick woods of Vermont in search of a small festival that we were to play at the next morning. The festival was called Basin Bluegrass, and it takes place on a large swath of farmland just outside of the small town of Brandon, VT.

When we arrived in the darkness, it was raining, and we drove our van through a field of RVs to find a place to camp for the night. We set up our tents in the rain, and we woke up the next morning in the rain.

This video was shot that morning as we prepared for our set at 10am.

Tired and wet, we arrived at the stage and sound checked as the rain subsided. Festival goers emerged from their RVs and sat down at their lawn chairs around the stage to drink coffee as we played. We were introduced by the management as the veritable black sheep of the festival (in so many words), because we were the only band from the western side of the Mississippi. If I remember correctly, the MC said somethings along the lines of "Let's see how they do" to the festival goers wandering into the stage area before we started.

Our first set didn't have a large audience, but it was fun to play music in spite of having woken up on the wet ground just one hour earlier. The festival management was excited that we generally adhered to the traditional stylings of bluegrass. And the crowd was happy about that too, for this was no festival in the mountains of Colorado. This was a God-fearing, traditional Bluegrass gathering.

 This was the kind of festival where tents were uncommon. The 750ish festival goers were housed in a great RV city, complete with golf cart transportation, propane grills, large rugs strewn over the lawn, and flags of various military institutions and states (yes, including a confederate flag that was hung from a single RV veranda along the walkway).

Every set of traditional bluegrass music at Basin Bluegrass was decorated with evangelism and gospel songs. Most of the evening sets had a salute to the veterans in the audience, and throughout the day, there were repeats of songs like "I'll Fly Away" and "Angel Band".

Meadow Mountain was the wildcard at Basin Bluegrass. We didn't dress like anyone at the festival, we slept on the ground in tents at the outskirts of the RV city, and we played a style of music that, while paying respects to the old ways, was clearly subverting the expectations of the audience.

Basin Bluegrass.jpg

And most of the audience loved it, except one guy, who rode his scooter right up to our merch booth after one of our sets to tell me that our music wasn't his cup of tea. As quickly as he said his piece, he turned his scooter and rode off through an alley of the great RV metropolis, never to be seen again by a member of this band.

We truly hope to go back to this one.