Bluegrass on the Bogs, Broken hearts and body bags

May 12, 2014

Uncategorized

Event organizer Iron Mike Foster.

Event organizer Iron Mike Foster.

As you roll into rustic Camp Kiwanee off route 58 in Hanson MA, you might think you had found a magic shortcut to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Alpine parketecture, towering pines, rolling hills and a crystal clear glacier pond makes this one of the best secrets in the Northeast.  Now, add in a hundred grand in sound and stage equipment, dozens of  the biggest names in Bluegrass music and  five hundred peace-loving, men, women and children and you’ve got the makings for something great.  Then throw in the perfect early summer weather, a dozen fantastic vendors, including two of the best traveling gourmets in the business, Chariot Pizza and Wicked Smokin BBQ, serving everything from breakfast sandwiches at six in the morning to  gourmet goat cheese and fig pizza  at one am, and you are in Bluegrass Heaven.

Wicked Smokin BBQ, The official Chef of New England Bluegrass.

Wicked Smokin BBQ, The official Chef of New England Bluegrass.

 

 

Chariot Pizza  Best Brick Oven Pizza on Wheels.

Chariot Pizza
Best Brick Oven Pizza on Wheels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gates opened at two pm Friday where fans were greeted by a fast-picking greeter named Rich who pointed them in the right direction.  The two dozen rustic cabins on the property were already spoken for early on, so dozens of Bluegrass faithful opted to bring their own sleeping arrangements.

 

 

DSC00296From pup tents to motorhomes, they scattered in the woods and on the gravel lot to set up camp for the weekend. Everyone was able to find a flat level spot to make camp and got settled in quickly. By four pm, the first band took to the stage and the 2014 Bluegrass on the Bogs was under way.

Blue Moon Coffee House Founder and President, Mark Gardner was on hand for the event, although he did not play this year.  Gardner was on a mission to scout out some great acts for his Channing Church Review at Blue Moon. Gardner and his wife, Cheryl, have hosted most of the of the

Mark Gardner, The Godfather of Bluegrass in Rockland.

Mark Gardner, The Godfather of Bluegrass in Rockland.

biggest names at the event, Chasing Blue, Riley Coyote, Jo Henley, Wide Open Spaces, Lizzy James and the Greystone Rail, Steve Lutke & Appalachian Uprising, Grace Morrison & The RSO, Tricky Britches, The Railroad House Band -  just to name a few. This year, however, Gardner had his sights set on one of the premier up-and-coming Bluegrass Bands in America. Five in the Chamber, Five in the Chamber is a New Haven, CT-based rollicking bluegrass and old-time string band with a rocking edge. Brought together through a series of music festivals during the Summer of 2011, the band quickly galvanized and established itself as a staple in the area’s emerging Bluegrass scene. With tight arrangements, unique harmony vocals, and a shared passion for writing original music as well as studying and reinterpreting the bluegrass song book, Five in the Chamber brings a fresh and exciting twist to the bluegrass repertoire. The band released their debut album in the Fall of 2013, entitled Live in the Chamber, to rave reviews. This weekend would be no different with Five in the Chamber rising above the world-class field to win the unofficial Bluegrass on the Bogs Best Band of 2014.  Ken McEwen (Guitar, Vocals)  is a textbook Bluegrass artist with a searing Bluegrass voice that defines the genre.  Andrea Asprelli (Fiddle, Guitar, Vocals), Dave Casali (Bass, Vocals), Pete Kaufman (Banjo) and the legendary Sean Mack  on Mandolin. Gardner was able to secure a promise from Five in the Chamber to come to the Blue Moon sometime soon.  We will keep you posted.

 

Chasing Blue was Fantastic !

Chasing Blue was Fantastic !

The vast line up of talent was a bit overwhelming for this author who is used to covering only one band at a time. The greatest names in Bluegrass all took turns on the stage, wowing the crowds into wild applause with each new song. An army of Banjo players and the largest arsenal of upright bass guitars I’ve ever seen had my head spinning in the face of such sheer, unmitigated talent. Not to mention the mandolins, the voices and the fiddles. I was not expecting that kind of barrage of world-class music.

Larry the Sound Nazi.

Larry the Sound Nazi.

Sound man Larry  ran the event with an iron fist. Directing  his stage hands from his office tent in front of the stage was no easy task. More than two dozen bands, all with different needs, were at the mercy of this soundboard tyrant. Larry got the job done and endured the three day marathon of music beautifully. Well Done Larry!

 

Riley Coyote was a huge hit. They even had a Bluegrass Mosh pit in the pavilion Sat Night.

Riley Coyote was a huge hit. They even had a Bluegrass Mosh pit in the pavilion Sat Night.

King Kiwani Camp Manager Jim and boss.

King Kiwanee Camp Manager Jim and boss.

 

Saturday Morning the crowds were growing

Saturday Morning, the crowds were growing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock and Roll Legend Joe Perry was on hand for the BgOTB

Rock and Roll Legend Joe Perry was on hand for the BGOTB

Bluegrass music attracts a wide range of colorful characters

Bluegrass music attracts a wide range of colorful characters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carl Mcphee and the Rocky Run band with legendary Mando player Steve Salt of the Earth Falino,

Carl McPhee and the Rocky Run band with legendary Mando player, Steve “Salt of the Earth” Falino,

 

 

 

 

Saturday some brave kids took their first dip of 2014.

Saturday, some brave kids took their first dip of 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could never do this event justice with one small story. The massive amounts of talent and characters could fill a book. Never before have I seen such a vast array of talent gathered together in one place. The sights, the sounds, the aromas of campfire BBQ and pizza, along with hundreds of pleasant, polite people, was the best way I can think of  to kick off the summer of 2014 just over the town border in Hanson.  Congratulations to Mike Foster for a fantastic job on this year’s Bluegrass on the Bogs Festival.  A great Success!

One of the band members said that Bluegrass lyrics are about heartbreak and body bags. That’s where I got the title for the story.  Bluegrass music Rocks!

 

check out the website and make plans to attend next years event