Sunday wrapped up the 8th annual Nelsonville Music Festival, with what might have been the strongest music of the weekend.
Hayes Carll, Shovels & Rope, Dawes and M. Ward all wowed crowds at the main stage, while Horse Feathers and Mount Moriah guaranteed that the Porch Stage was not a place to miss.
Carll pulled a sizable crowd with an early afternoon set, keeping the audience dancing after Shovels & Rope’s main stage set. Carll brought Shovels & Rope onstage several times, calling them his “favorite band in America.”
Carll’s set also saw one of the highlights of the day with a duet between Carll and Carry Ann Hearts of Shovels & Rope. The two sang a song that Carll described as being about two people on opposite sides of the spectrum going on a blind date.
“Maybe it’s Ann Coulter and Rachel Maddow,” he said. “Wouldn’t that be weird? … It’d sure be sexy.”
Earlier in his set, Carll had thanked the crowd for coming out, saying, “You could have stayed home with a keg and watched a porno.”
One of the surprises of the day was the Flying Clouds of South Carolina, a gospel group. Their feel-good gospel tunes had the entire audience waving their arms and dancing around.
The Porch Stage proved to be a perfect spot to cool off in the shade and doze off as Mount Moriah performed onstage. Their mellow folk rock was the perfect soundtrack as fest goers refueled before the rest of the day’s performances.
Dawes, although not a headliner, proved to have the strongest set of the weekend. The crowd swelled as he played, and the band’s facial expressions kept the audience laughing throughout. The drummer’s face, in particular, brought giggles from audience members, who nicknamed him “Animal.”
M. Ward took to the stage for the last set of the weekend. Fest goers proved they could carry on through three days of heat and music as they danced to Ward’s bluesy folk. As he prepared to wrap up his set, he brought Dawes back onstage, in what might have been one of the strongest songs of the weekend.
Other notable happenings included:
—Horse Feathers, despite an extremely lengthy sound check, played an extremely strong set on the Porch Stage. It was a shame they had to compete with Dawes for an audience.
—Time and Temperature, Dawes and Shovels & Rope were all seen walking around the festival today.
—While there was less banter overall from the acts today, the bands which did engage with the crowd had some of the funniest lines of the weekend. One of our favorite quotes was Hayes Carll’s comment that we could be “home with a keg watching porno.”
—M. Ward had a shout out to the festival, saying he had heard it was the best Nelsonville yet, the best one that could ever happen, and that it was a pleasure to be playing there.
—While the fields at Robbins Crossing was transformed into a mud pit last year, today it was quite the opposite. As people walked around in front of the main stage, they kicked clouds of dust into the air.
—Tim Peacock teared up as he took the stage before M. Ward to thank fest goers, volunteers and his co-workers. He particularly was sad to say goodbye to his friend and co-worker, Adam Fisher, who is heading to Louisville. It was Fisher’s last festival.
—The lineup seemed, and Peacock agreed, to be more focused on the acts as a whole rather than one or two headliners.
—Nicolien Buholzer, William Hoffman, Ian Ording and Adam Wagner contributed to this story.