It started as a business class project by three Appalachian State University Students. The professor was encouraging, and the students began to work.
Music on the Mountain, a new festival held August 23 just outside Boone, North Carolina.
Music on the Mountain borrowed from Merlefest and designed the festival to blend family entertainment, tradition with modern bluegrass and two of the student-oriented Jam bands. Many recent area festivals have had poor attendance, and it was plain to see that the promoters intended to avoid some of the pitfalls. The festival was well-organized and the promoters did a fine job of recruiting 29 sponsors, from major banks to several environmental/non-profit companies.
Music on the Mountain was set for two days before ASU began classes to attract students just moving into the dorms. The festival started early in the day and had activities set up for the children at one end with the main stage at the other. The layout was well planned and there were vendors and plenty of folks selling food, including two choices of BBQ.
Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band began around 3pm, and the crowd that had gathered for Jerry Douglas and Sam Bush’s respective bands seemed very impressed. The Booty Band never fails to bring the funk. Pulling the crowd onto their feet, much dancing ensued. As usual, during the final number the band invited the girls from the crowd to dance on stage.
Next was a local act from Shelby who have played together about ten years now, Acoustic Syndicate, who brought out a loyal following. In between the main stage acts there was a smaller stage to the left with more traditional bluegrass, so the crowd could easily turn for entertainment without having to relocate to enjoy the shows.
The Jerry Douglas Band and the Sam Bush Band were the main acts of the festival. Hugely popular in the hills of North Carolina, they pulled in a sizable crowd. Jerry Douglas appeared to have a fine time cutting up with the band and playing a fairly straight set list of his recent work. Ending around dusk, the stage hands took a while setting up for The Sam Bush Band, While "Do It To Julia" played a rousing set on the smaller stage. People just seemed to wander over and take notice of this little-known band.
Sam Bush took the stage a little late and played a little long. If you’ve seen Sam Bush then you know he likes to play. Starting in New Grass Revival with Bela Fleck, Sam pushes the bounds of traditional bluegrass. The most interesting cover was Led Zeppelin’s "Whole Lotta Love."
Bush’s late start and later end pushed Perpetual Groove’s set back late into the evening. It took longer to set up an electric band, and while the crew worked fast, there was no time to check the sound. Starting 30 minutes late meant the band had less than an hour, but the promoters asked if they could play later and got an extension, but apparently the local police were not consulted.
Unfortunately, the cops had a very different end time in mind and PGroove were cut short only three songs into their set.
So, with the police waiting aside the stage, "Macumba" is begun with Brock added his mad rap mix, lyrically expressing his displeasure at having to end early. The guitar was put down and a heavy bass beat is added to Jay-Z’s 99 Problems and other lyrics.
All in all the festival was well organized, and with any luck, will actually show a profit. If so look for Music on the Mountain 2 next year.