Thousands of music-lovers congregated once again in the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park yesterday for MagFest. The beloved Amphitheater Stage played host to a handful of acts to get the party started, including Jon Stickley Trio, Col. Bruce Hampton & Friends, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine and headliners Railroad Earth.
The first act I was able to catch was the very impressive Jon Stickley Trio. The incredibly full sounding three-piece played a variety of styles from funky rock to twangy bluegrass, all made more impressive by their small band. Jon Stickley led on the acoustic guitar, but violinist Lyndsay Pruett really spiced up the vibes. Drummer Patrick Armitage rounded out the Asheville trio with his mindful rhythms and bangin’ beats.
Headlining the night was New Jersey’s Railroad Earth, who began their set with “Donkey For Sale.” You know when you see someone come on stage with two saxophones in his mouth that something is about to go down…and down it went. Railroad Earth continued on with the bluegrass-feel of “Long Way To Go,” indicating that they did have a while left of their eclectic set. They sped it up, slowed it down, jammed it out and satisfied the early MagFest crowd during the course of their two hour set.
Set 1: Donkey for Sale, Long Way To Go, Railroad Earth, Lone Croft Farewell, Mourning Flies, Crossing the Gap, Potter’s Field, 1759, Right in Tune, Daddy-O, Dandelion Wine, Acadian Driftwood, Head, E: ‘Neath the Stars, Mighty River