One can only wonder how the promoter of a first time festival just happens to have it held on the first nice weekend in what’s been a brutal Central PA winter. A deal with the Devil perhaps not unlike the one Robert Johnson made in Clarksdale,Mississippi? That would only be fitting considering it was a Blues festival but in any case the Lancaster streets were full of activity as I made my way to the Convention Center to pick up my pass to the Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival.
There was a band sound checking on the “Robert Johnson Stage” while the nice volunteers in their Roots and Blues tees hooked me up. I must at this time send a shout out all the volunteers and folks who worked the festival last night as there was an ample supply of them and they were all friendly and helpful. I made my way to Tellus 360 where a sizable crowd was already in place for Lanc perennials the Inca Campers. Trixie Greiner and crew pumped up the room with their blend of Jazz, Funk, and World music and showed why they are some the best musicians that Lancaster has to offer.
The Ware center was my next stop. I saw plenty of familiar faces there which let me know that the word was out and that this festival was the place to be this weekend. I also heard that along with a healthy pre-sale there were plenty of walk ups perhaps coaxed out of their homes by the pleasant weather. The Heritage Blues Quintet was playing it old school with their take on vintage down home blues and the crowd responded with a standing “O”.
There was a long line for Loudon Wainright and this true poet/artist/story teller who has been doing it a long time did some new tunes about getting old. Many in the crowd, like myself, could relate to ‘the new dance craze called getting out of bed” and another tune simply called “Meds”. His show was also interspersed with spoken word renditions of his Fathers’s “Life Magazine” articles that were not everyone’s cup of tea but rewarding if you stuck around to listen.
When the set was over I headed back to the Robert Johnson Hall for Edgar Winter who was blowing up the room with his Texas Blues. Last stop of the evening was Tellus 360 for some Irish tunes from Ogham Stones, reggae from Meditations Reggae Band, and a great set by Frog Holller. This truly was a night that had something for everyone and all I can say is job well done and let’s do it again next year!