Yesterday, PJ and I spent the late afternoon and evening at the Nelsonville Music Festival. We’ve been to the festival twice before, the first time to see Iris Dement, one of our favorite artists. Last year we saw Willie Nelson at the festival. We were extremely excited to have the opportunity this year to see Loretta Lynn, but there were also a number of other acts that we wanted to hear.

We arrived at the festival around 4 o’clock. The first thing we did was find a good spot for our lawn chairs so that we could see the stage when Loretta Lynn appeared later. Our favorite local band was already playing, so we also got to see their set:

These seats put us near enough to see well without being too close. Last year, the sound system wasn’t amplified enough; this year there were no problems with that, so I didn’t want to be so close we couldn’t hear each other talk.

Here’s another pic of Southeast Engine:

They’re an indie-folk-rock band. Here’s a sample of the kind of music they play:

While Southeast Engine was still playing, PJ went off to buy a couple of beers. I quickly remembered that we would both need arm bands confirming that we were over 21, so I went and found him. It only took a minute to get the bands, pay for the beer tickets, and then get our beers. Here’s what the bands look like:

We walked around the grounds for a bit before returning to the main stage.

The next band that was playing was Woody Pines, who were actually subbing for another group that had to leave the festival early.

I don’t think I had heard them before, though they apparently come to Athens a lot. I really liked their set, enough so that I bought their most recent album this morning. Their music is most aptly described as Americana or roots music. I intend to blog more about them tomorrow.

After their set, we decided to get something to eat. We quickly settled on hot dogs from O’Betty’s Red Hots (my tofu dog with banana peppers and sauerkraut was amazing!). I took some pictures of the food court while we ate:

We also got some ice cream from Jeni’s Ice Cream.

I had the dark chocolate and salty caramel, while PJ had the salty caramel and vanilla bean. They were delicious!

The next act we saw was Billy Joe Shaver. I’ll admit that I didn’t know who he was, but PJ read me the blurb about him from the festival guide. He’s got a very impressive reputation.

His set was really good, but I ultimately enjoyed the other acts we saw better.

We were then ready for the main event: Loretta Lynn. First, he son sang a couple of songs. Then her daughter sang a couple. They were a kind of family-based opening act.

Then they played a short tribute video to their mother, who is celebrating 50 years in the music industry. Then Loretta Lynn stepped on stage and started to sing.

She stuck to her older hits, including “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “The Pill,” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Early on, she sounded as good as she’s ever sounded, but as the set progressed she became increasingly horse. A couple of songs from members of her band were interspersed with her songs in order to give her voice a rest.

Despite the voice problems, I thought she was great. My only regret was that she didn’t sing any of the songs from her album with Jack White. But other than that, it was a good set.

A lot of the crowd then left, but we stayed for the other big act that we were excited to see: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, who were totally hot. They had us all off our seats and dancing in the field. I didn’t get any good pictures of them, but the set was smoking. I haven’t purchased their new album yet, but I probably will. They’re an amazing live band.

Unfortunately, I have to go to a meeting in a bit; otherwise, I’d be back at the festival today. Instead, PJ is going to hear The Swell Season. If he takes some good pictures, I’ll post them later.

I can’t wait until next year’s line up is announced; I don’t know how they can top this year’s!

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