Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Smilefest - June 3 - 5 - Pinnacle, NC

Smilefest is a very nice little festival at a campground in North Carolina. It advertises that ticket count is limited to only 1,499 total and it looked liked fewer than that number were there. But the weather was beautiful and they had a lineup of excellent musicians to keep us entertained. This was the second time we took our Jayco Pinnacle 5th wheel camper to a festival and it performed very well, our friend Wayne stayed with us and we met our friends Steve and Donna there as well.

Our campsite with the Jayco Pinnacle
After getting set up (see photo above) we checked out the music, the stage was at the bottom of a steep natural amphitheater and gave us a beautiful view of Pilot Mountain.  It is widely believed that the town of "Mount Pilot" often mentioned in The Andy Griffith Show was named for Pilot Mountain. Andy Griffith was born and raised not too far from here. So it was a very nice setting and they used the system pioneered by Tim Walther (of the All Good Music Festival) of having two stages side by side. While one band is playing the other stage is getting set up for the next band. Thus there is continuous music and you never have to miss a band due to scheduling conflicts.

Two stages with Pilot Mountain in the distance
Friday afternoon/evening had good sets by Jackass Flats, Pimps of Joytime, and the New Mastersounds, but the highlight for me was seeing one of my favorite bands, Railroad Earth, up close and personal. With such a small venue I was able to watch the entire set from the front rail and the RRE boys put on a fantastic show.

You can in fact download a recording of the Railroad Earth set from the link on the sidebar.

Saturday was another beautiful day, the Bird fixed up some nice food for us and we saw several new (to us) bands as well as a fine set by Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, followed by Melvin Seals and the JGB.  That dude knows how to work a Hammond organ. Late night funkiness was provided by Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, complete with a nice flotilla of paper lanterns flying off into the night sky. 

Sunday's highlight was Jeb and Tara of Donna the Buffalo, playing a relaxed set without the full band. All in all a very nice relaxing weekend with friends and great music, that's what summer festivals are all about. 

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