On the Sprague Farm and Brew Works, little ones twirled before a stage amped with the twang of local folk and bluegrass. Tents dotted the perimeter in front of the tree line, and feel-good summertime vibes were in.
The Crawford County Music Fest brought more than just great music, fun people, and good times together, July 9, but laid the grounds for what may be a new annual Crawford tradition.
“We’re in the business of being people-people,” said Brian Sprague, who founded the Sprague Farm and Brew Works with his wife, Minnie. “Our goal was to put on a nice friendly event, have people come away saying, ‘That was great, and I want to come back again.”
If all goes well, Fest lovers can expect a second event. Originally, a yearly Bluegrass/American roots festival, the Fest ended in 1991 after becoming too expensive to produce. However, after Brian Sprague came to Tom New of WQLN looking for collaboration for an event, New agreed that the time was right to bring new life to the old beloved festival.
This time, all proceeds go to WQLN, helping them further their public broadcasting mission.
“This is the kind of music that’s not being served,” said New about the sound of the festival. “We’ve got a lot of great regional bands.”
Mentioning Grove City band, Yellow Lady Slipper, he added, “they play all original music. It’s a band that should be shared with people.”
The Fest line up included regional talent Yellow Lady Slipper, from Grove City, Richie Stearns, from Ithaca, N.Y., Tiger Maple String Band, from Edinboro, and Donna the Buffalo, also from Ithaca.
Referring to Stearns, New said, “we probably have the best claw-handled banjo player in America playing for us right now.”
Yellow Lady Slipper drummer Bill Smith approved of the event. “Seems like they’ve covered all their bases, good brew, shade, nice vibe, being out in the country, good sound system,” he said.
One group of seven friends, who camped out early to claim their “perfect” spot, is making plans for next year.
“(We are) already talking about coming back next year,” said Maggie Jablonski, who drove from Linesville. “We’re going to perfect this, we’ve got a list of things to remember for next time.”
Find this in print July 15!
Looking for photos and video? Check back soon to see more from the Crawford County Music Fest. I’ll be posting photos and video soon.