Going Hog Wild at the 10th Annual Papa Joe's Banjo-B-Que!
One of my favorite festivals to attend during Memorial Day weekend is Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que which highlights the best artists/bands in Americana, roots rock, bluegrass, blues, country, folk, and rock. Not only is this the tenth (10th) Annual Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que but this year was also the first year at Lake Olmstead in Augusta, Georgia. Now moving a festival can be challenging but it looked like the team behind Banjo-B-Que was ready to take this head on. With a lineup that includes some big names like; Old Crow Medicine Show, Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Deer Tick, Steep Canyon Rangers, Ghost of Paul Revere, and The Steeldrivers to name a few. Add a HUGE selection of craft beers from many southeastern breweries (and all for $4 each), many attractions for the kids (such as water slides, a petting zoo, Swifty Swine pig races, Hog Diggity dog show, and pony rides), and to top it all off throw in some of the meanest BBQ ever made by some of the best cooks in the Southeast.
I’ll be honest the $4 craft beer is my favorite non-musical thing to do at Banjo-B-Que with breweries like Prairie Artisan Ales, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Red Hare Brewing Company, Monday Night Brewing Company, and Eagle Creek Brewing Company you cannot go wrong. And it also doesn’t hurt that this festival is one of the best run two-day music festivals that I have attended over my festival career. With past headliners that included: Ricky Skaggs, Old Crow Medicine Show (Old Crow has played five (5) years in total counting 2019), Drive By Truckers, Trampled by Turtles, Vance Joy, The Avett Brothers, and Willie Nelson & Family to name a few. This does not even touch the juicy undercard that this festival has boasted for 10 strong years! I have found some really awesome artists/bands in the undercard that might not have made it to my ears had it not been for attending this event. Some of those great artists/bands include: The Artisinals, Sailing to Denver, Cicada Rhythm, Kyshona Armstrong, Hop Slop String Band, Great Peacock, and Front Country. Well now let us dive deep into this year’s event because I am very excited to tell you all about it.
Friday kicked off at 4:30 pm with San Francisco’s Front Country taking the main stage in the blistering sun! At times I felt really bad for them since they were in direct view of the sun’s rays for their entire set. But they did not skip a beat for the crowd that gathered for the big start to the 10th Annual Banjo-B-Que! Like true professionals they rallied the troops and gave an incredible performance. Now my favorite three sets of the day belongs to Matt Dahlheimer, The Steeldrivers, and Deer Tick. Matt Dahlheimer a.k.a. Fuzzheimer is local to the Augusta area and deserves to have some recognition. His style of American roots mixed with bluegrass is just what the doctored order. Check out his official ReverbNation page today!
Next up on the main stage were The Steeldrivers which is a bluegrass band from Nashville, Tennessee. Some of you may recognize this band because of a former Grammy winning member- Chris Stapleton. Don’t fret because this band did not lose anything with the departure of Chris. Not going to lie, adding Kelvin Damrell (vocals/guitar) on lead vocals was the right choice to make. His vocal style is very similar to Mr. Stapleton’s and the crowd was very pleased with how their set went. My last highlight of the day belongs to an alternative rock band from Providence, Rhode Island named Deer Tick. I really love that this festival brings a few great rock bands to play with all the Americana/roots bands each year. With that being said, Deer Tick played one of the most energetic and exciting sets of the day at Banjo-B-Que. Closing out Friday night was the always loved Greensky Bluegrass who is always welcomed to play at this festival anytime they please. Check out their set list from the show!
Saturday started off much earlier than the day before with Teddy and The Rough Riders starting off on the main stage. My day would not start until 2:30 pm with local favorites The Mason Jars over at the Saloon Stage. And of course The Mason Jars make one of my favorite three sets for the day because well they always rock! It is always a treat to see these guys do their thing on stage. Check out their official ReverbNation page today! Steep Canyon Rangers, an American bluegrass band from Asheville, North Carolina, filled the main stage next and treated the crowd to an hour’s worth of their hits. It had been a couple years since I’ve seen Steep Canyon play and realized that was a couple years way too long. The last band that I want to mention based off their performance is Leftover Salmon who is quickly becoming one of my favorite festival bands to watch. If you have yet to have the pleasure of seeing this band live then I highly suggest you get that taken care of soon because Leftover Salmon is amazing live! And closing out the 10th Annual Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que was one of our favorites, Old Crow Medicine Show. You can always get a great vibe and lots of interaction from Old Crow each time they play Augusta/Evans. After last year’s inclement weather which forced many artists/bands off the stage or even to play shortened sets, Old Crow came to bring everything they had plus more for the attendees this year as payback. And that is one of the many reasons why Papa Joe’s Banjo B Que loves Old Crow.
Well after another successful Banjo B Que we can only speculate who will be added to next year’s lineup. Who do you think? All I know is that regardless of who plays this event you will find Concerthopper front and center! I.C.Y.M.I. - Check out the 8th Annual Papa Joe's Banjo-B-Que & 9th Annual Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que galleries! Want to check out last year’s recap? Then follow this link to the review of the 9th Annual Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que!
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Remember don’t think about it, just buy the damn ticket! As always, hope to see you at a show or festival soon!