Not the bad kind of "crazy," but the sort of wow-there-are-is-a-ridiculous-amount-of-people-here-just-to-see-local-music sort of "crazy." The main stage set up outside the Victorian Café, which housed half of the festival, the rest of which took place across the street at Parrilla Grill, was packed on both Friday and Saturday nights for the all-local and all-free festival. It seems that Bend Roots has really hit its stride in its fourth year, serving as a testament to the quality of our local music scene. And we can thank organizer and founder Mark Ransom for that... which the crowd did several times over the weekend.
Bend Roots started a day early this year with a Grateful Dead--inspired Thursday night showcase featuring quaint bluegrass provided by Back from the Dead and a full set of Dead covers by tribute act Rising Tide.
Friday night kicked off at Parrilla with a searing set by Ransom's all-star act, The Mostest, that included some incredible covers, including a four-guitar-fueled take on the Allman Brother's Band's "Whipping Post." Across the street, Leif James and the Struggle dished out rock-laced Americana with the lead man's familiar growl serving as a perfect background for locals to sip their Pabst tall cans - which seemed to be the unofficial beverage of Bend Roots.
Saturday provided the meat and potatoes of the fest, with a bevy of singer-songwriters taking the stage, including Erin Cole Baker, the awesomely bluesy Joanna Lee, and the poppy acoustic sounds of the Sweet Harlots. As night neared, the real treats of the weekend appeared, namely in the form of Ruins of Ooah, the dance-o-matic trio headed by didgeridoo player Tyler Spencer. As El Dante funked it up on the Parrilla Stage, the aforementioned Empty Space and Mosley Wotta set began, which brought on the aforementioned mass of humanity (maybe as many as 500 people).
Sunday, marked as a family day, included plenty of stuff for the kids, but also Bend Roots' most rocking acts, like the Dirty Words and the Autonomics. As night fell, Moon Mountain Ramblers closed out the festival with the sort of high-powered acoustic brew that's made them a mainstay at events like this.
As Sound Check drove past the festival grounds Monday morning, we couldn't help but long for another weekend like this. Hey Mark, whaddaya say? Can we do this again next weekend?