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Author Topic: Mayville Bluegrass Festival Report  (Read 1277 times)
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« on: July 08, 2004, 02:12:12 PM »

Mayville Bluegrass Festival Continues to Grow

Wednesday, July 7, 2004 @ 04:04 PM EDT

Mayville, NY USA - Buoyed by an extraordinary lineup, good weather, additional contests and workshops, and its unique location, the 3rd Annual Mayville Bluegrass Festival drew thousands to this small western NY lakeside village. The success of this year’s festival virtually ensures its continuance for years to come.

MBF 2004 was June 19-20 and featured Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, Roland White, Al Perkins, Vassar Clements, The Hickory Project, Clay Hess & Jon Garon, The New England Bluegrass Band, Dee Specker & Cornerstone, The Doerfel Family, The Atkinson Family, Ten Mile Drive, Creek Bend, The Lost Boys, Doug Yeomans & Mountain Run, Barton, Barton, Liuzzo & Ward, The Blue Grasshoppers, and The Goodfellas. The festival not only boasted stellar two-day mainstage performances, but extended into the area pubs and clubs on Saturday night, with many of the feature acts performing sets well into Sunday morning.

The headliners, obviously taken with the magic of the event, went above and beyond the call of duty. Reunions abounded, with Pedersen and Hillman taking the stage with Perkins and Clements on both days for two completely different flavored sets. Saturday’s performance included a bluegrass Byrds medley, even concluding with an acoustic version of “Eight Miles High,” highlighted by Perkins inspired Dobro work. On Sunday, the same lineup (plus Hickory Project’s Steve Belcher on bass) ended with a Flying Burrito Brothers bluegrass set. Vassar Clements’ legendary soaring fiddle was a welcome and nostalgic touch.

Roland White’s Performances were no less captivating. His band was at once tight and smooth, alternating some standard bluegrass favorites with many of White’s original classics. His performances were also not without special guests. The end of Sunday’s set found guitar wizard Clay Hess, Perkins, Clements, and even the festival founder, local musician Bill Ward joining White’s band on the stage.

Clements Performed with the Hickory Project for the second year in a row, and he and HP’s Sue Cunningham again produced a jaw-dropping fiddle alchemy which left festival-goers wanting much more. Vassar seems to have become the unofficial “godfather” of the festival, and expressed to the crowd repeatedly how special the Mayville Bluegrass Festival is to him.

The instrumental contests provided a spectacular show of their own. The flat-picking event, sponsored by Larrivee Guitars was won by Ithaca’s Bobby Henrie. 1st runner-up was Scott Pearson of Warren, PA; with John Cadley of Syracuse taking the 3rd spot. Henrie won a beautiful Larrivee D-60 guitar custom inlaid with the Mayville Bluegrass Festival logo on the headstock.
The Weber-sponsored mandolin contest saw Scott Pearson of Warren, PA taking 1st place, winning a custom Weber Bitteroot Mandolin. Eddie Doerfel of Springville took 2nd place honors, with Mike Hampsey taking 3rd.

The workshops hosted by Roland White, Clay Hess, Al Perkins, and  Doug Yeomans were well-attended and full of surprises. At White’s mandolin workshop, he was at one point assisted by Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, giving the attendees a rare treat. Another highlight was a Sue Cunningham/Vassar Clements-led fiddle workshop for young people which culminated with a Sunday performance on the mainstage.

The 2004 Mayville Bluegrass Festival, partnered in its third season with the Mayville/Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce, also benefited from partnerships with over 65 sponsors, keeping the non-profit festival’s admission fee at $10, with youth and children admitted free. Major sponsors include: Larrivee Guitars, Weber Mandolins, The Olive’s/Watermark/La Fleur Restaurant Group, and the people of Mayville. Other significant sponsors are: The NY State Council for the Arts, Trinity Guitars, M&T Bank, Jamestown Savings Bank, Bluegrass Music Profiles Magazine, Webb’s Resort, The Blues Rock Café, Piper’s Alley, Giambrone’s Restaurant, and The Red Brick Farm.

The highlights were many, and despite Mayville’s ambitious road construction, the festival holds huge promise for years to come. For two days, the crowd sat by the shores of Chautauqua Lake, experienced wide and varied delivery of quality bluegrass music, and took in the sights and sounds of a brand new Chautauqua County Summer season.
The “little festival that could” - did.

Bill Ward
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2004, 01:38:12 AM »

Man that sounds like a lotta fun!  Wish I could've made it, maybe next year! :)  

2004 Larrivee Parlor BW
2003 Larrivee L-03 BW
2002 Larrivee D-03 BW x 2
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