Friday, June 4, 2010

Del McCoury's DelFest a Rousing Success for Music and Charity

by Nancy Dunham

Del McCoury has to be one of the most modest legends in bluegrass.

Although musicians in bands ranging from Railroad Earth, The Avett Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams &; Friends, Trampled by Turtles and Dave Rawlings Machine continually sang Del's praises during his four-day Memorial Day bluegrass festival in Cumberland, Maryland, the man of the hour stayed mainly in the background.

A former member of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, Del has always felt that the bluegrass format should grow and expand to remain relevant. His band -- including sons Rob McCoury, who recently recorded with Willie Nelson, and Ronnie McCoury, who joined the other Travelin' McCoury's on tour with Dierks Bentley -- give play shops and join casual jams to foster new musicians interested in the genre. Plus DelFest benefits the financially beleaguered area where it is based. Yet what makes DelFest truly stand out is that it's all family-oriented.

"We have just a great line up," Del told The Boot while watching The John Cowan Band take the stage after Cornmeal finished their set. "I am enjoying all if it; I really am."

The approximately 20,000 fans from throughout the country that jammed DelFest apparently did, too, forming casual players' circles in the midst of the festival's campgrounds, continually calling out good-naturedly to the musicians on stage and dancing even during rain showers. Whether the bands played Bill Monroe's 'Bluegrass Breakdown,' the classic 'Nashville Cats,' or even more contemporary tunes such as Yonder Mountain's 'Another Day' or Willie Nelson's 'Blackjack County Chains,' the good mood never dipped.

"Are all of you having a good time this afternoon?" Del asked from the stage as screams and shouts erupted from the crowd made up primarily of those in their 20s and 30s. "That's all we want -- to have you enjoy all of the artists we have here." More here.

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