With festival season in full swing, it’s always exciting to spread the news about first-year entrants into the space. Pennsylvania-based bluegrass powerhouses Cabinet have partnered with Live Nation to throw the first annual Old Farmers Ball at Montage Mountain’s Stage B on May 11, 2013.

If you’re paying attention, this is the first time that Live Nation, a company well-known in the entertainment industry for producing some of the largest stage shows in the country, has signed onto a festival with this much ‘grass, so it’s an exciting moment for fans of roots & bluegrass music.

old farmers ball festival 2013

Cabinet brings some serious soul and musicianship to the roots music scene, and they’ve certainly outgrown the “regional favorite” moniker, playing some of the biggest festivals around and sharing the stage with an impressive list of talent since they formed in 2006: Yonder Mountain String Band, Allman Brothers, Pokey LaFarge, Yarn, Delta Rae, Zac Brown, Infamous String Dusters, Railroad Earth, Rusted Root, Hoots & Hellmouth, Cornmeal, Dark Star Orchestra, Keller Williams, Hackensaw Boys — well, you get the idea. So when the news crossed my desk that they were throwing a festival of their own, I called their manager Bill Orner to get the story of how they cooked up the idea for hosting their own festival.

“Well, Live Nation actually approached us about throwing the festival. Without their support, we wouldn’t be doing this,” Orner said in a phone interview. “The band has played a lot of festivals, so we’ve made some great friends with other touring acts. We hand-selected all the bands that are appearing on the bill, and Cabinet has played with all of them in past.”  Orner is no stranger to the music business with a career that spans some fifteen years in promotion, managing, booking, and small record labels. “This festival is really for the fans. Not everyone wants to deal with a club show, especially for those fans with families. Old Farmers Ball is definitely going to be a family-friendly festival and an alternative to the typical club-style venue. ”

Marley’s Mission is this year’s charity partner. They provide equine-assisted psychotherapy — free — to children who have experienced emotional trauma.

So what can you expect at the festival? Eight sets from eight bands that all promise to be full of energy and a foot-stompin’ good time: festival hosts Cabinet, festival emcees Coal Town Rounders (Scranton, PA), Yarn (Brooklyn, NY), Holy Ghost Tent Revival (Greensboro, NC), MiZ (a personal favorite of mine) (Scranton, PA), And The Moneynotes (Scranton, PA), Kyle Morgan (Harrisburg, PA) — and a solo set from Cabinet’s own Pappy.

And what’s an outdoor festival without craft and food vendors? Enjoy a seasonal farmer’s market, concert poster and photography gallery, and local/regional eats.

As a dedicated ‘grasser, I’m excited for this festival — and you’ll probably see me kicking around the grounds and chatting with as many of the bands as I can while soakin’ in the tunes and that good ol’ festival atmosphere. There’s just something about mountain-inspired played up in the hills. See you there?


Holy Ghost Tent Revival

Holy Ghost Tent Revival–“Telephone Wire” from Harvey Robinson on Vimeo.