Some jaw-dropping, lively sets marked the second day of Cowpie Music Fest, not to mention more comfortable, sunny weather that even had Shagbark Farm’s cows mooing their approval. (Photo gallery, video)
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It doesn’t get much better than this at Cowpie Music Festival.
With an ecstatic young child chasing a beach ball, 20-somethings dancing and twirling amid the setting sun and baby boomers lounging happily in their quad chairs, Chicago’s genre-twisting jam band Mungion on Saturday evening uncorked what can only be described as one of the grooviest sets in Shagbark Farm history – a tightly delivered stew of prog-rock, funk, bluegrass and more.
To prove the point, quite literally, even the herd of cows in the neighboring pasture gave their thumbs up — or hooves up — by mooing contentedly.
“We can only imagine what they’re thinking,” quipped a grinning Cowpie organizer and Shagbark Farm owner Farmer John Crissman.
There was none of that guesswork when it comes to the farm field of colorfully bedecked humans in front of the stage — Cowpie-goers who roared their approval while musicians from other bands congratulated members of Mungion as they trotted off with their gear.
After a rainy but fun Friday, Saturday’s sun- and breeze-splashed edition of Cowpie 2016 offered up what this rootsy festival does best: a vibrant and eclectic display of some of the region’s most talented bands, from veteran stars to up-and-coming players, many of whom weathered sound issues, power glitches and occasional scheduling delays with smiles and an upbeat attitude.
Indeed, the throng of a couple thousand festival frolickers only got more festive and rambunctious as the evening wore on, heartily cheering the likes of Fauxgrass’ progressive bluegrass, Hannah Rose & The GravesTones’ soulful rock and funk (even after some P.A. speakers failed partway through the set), and finally, Strange Arrangement’s rock-fueled jam-band glory.
And this came after rousing performances by the likes of The Balsam Brothers, The Corn Fed Girls, Covert, The Autumnatic, Tony LaJoye, Lukewarm & The Not So Hots and more.
Near the end of its fiery set, Fauxgrass may have perfectly encapsulated the theme of Day 2 at Cowpie 2016 with its appropriately titled, “Lay This Hammer Down.”
It seems that’s what all the bands did with passion on Saturday.
PHOTO GALLERY: Cowpie Music Festival, Day 2
Photos by Anna Sink, Hunter Gamble
Here’s a rundown of some of the day’s quips, comments and highlights courtesy of Local Spins writers Hunter Gamble and Adrianna Walker.
QUIPS AND QUOTES
• Cheryl Fischer-Vodry, at the Fused Glass Jewelry tent: “I live a couple houses down, it’s too close not to come. I love the music.”
• John Campos, singer and mandolinist for Kalamazoo’s The Corn Fed Girls: “There’s such a wide variety of bands, and I love sitting around jammin’ with people. The size of the festival is perfect also — a lot of cool people, but it’s small enough to be a really chill environment.”
• Veteran Cowpie vendors Andy and Louise Stormzand of Grand Rapids, who returned this year with a sprawled-out offering of everything from baby rompers to slippers: “We like the local spin on the whole festival,” said Louise. Added Andy, citing the festival’s transition from blues to a more diverse and local musical lineup in recent years: “I think the evolution of the festival is for the best. This is a better direction.”
• Festival-goer Megan Graham, 31, of Caledonia: ““This is probably my 5th time at Cowpie,” said Graham, who also appreciated the festival’s musical pivot from only blues, calling it a “good change.”
• Big Rapids’ The Balsam Brothers performed with such talent and ease, they made it hard not to enjoy the show. Their brand of progressive rock with a hint of folk influence was the perfect concoction for this year’s Cowpie Music Festival. Hard-hitting yet joyful guitar riffs, fast paced drums, and upbeat melodies like those in “Hey Mama” make these guys an excellent jam-along festival band.
• With things running a tad behind schedule, early evening at Cowpie provided an impressive one-two punch: Mungion’s jaw-dropping instrumental prowess and energizing, genre-defying music followed by one of the most rousing Fauxgrass sets of bluegrass jamming yet.
• Covert, a space-rock jam band from Flint, delivered one of the standout performances of the afternoon. “It’s a really great local fest with a really great lineup,” said Kedree Young, lead singer for the band playing Cowpie for the first time. “There are some great bands with real talent.”
VIDEO: Cowpie 2016, Day Two
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC