Greg Cahill and Special Consensus took headline status on main stage. These boys were highly energetic and entertaining and musically brilliant. For many however, the big surprise was Chris Henry and The Hardcore Grass. This band was the most entertaining, and oft talked about – of the weekend. They amazed audiences with their musical prowess, affable nature and highly amusing onstage antics.
The local bands were a treat also with the re-formed Flying Emus – looking none the worst for wear after more than a 20 year hiatus – taking to the stage in a hilariously funny and no less musical treat as they played a host of their many hits from the 1980’s.
Other bands included Harrietville regulars such as Applachian Heaven, Pipi Pickers, Kissin’ Cousins, Bluegrass Parkway, The Davidson Brothers and Old South all of whom are right on the top of their game musically. It was a pleasure to see so many well-known bands all appearing at the one festival.
This year under the artistic direction of Melbourne based George Jackson, there were a number of new appearances for Harreitville which included bands like Little Rabbit, Lonesome Still, One Up Two Down, String Theories, The Company all of whom dazzled audiences with their musical ability and onstage presentations. This was a festival unlike many of the previous festivals I have attended at Harrietville – there was great music and entertainment everywhere.
The workshop program, set up by Geoff Bridgland, was also ramped up this year with a variety of new initiatives including a number of slow jams hosted by Old South, and The Pipi Pickers. There was an introduction to Bluegrass Jamming workshop, clog dancing along with the usual presentations on banjo, Dobro, mandolin, guitar and fiddle workshops.
It is hard to imaging how it could have been improved on in terms of range of high quality talent presented, however, that is the challenge for the MountainGrass team in 2015.
The weekends weather was a variety of hot weather to cold wet drizzle, none of which dampened the enthusiasm of either the performers or audiences. But that’s Victoria.
Ian Fisk has publishes several hundred photos of the weekend and they can be seen on his website: Ian Fisk Photos.