Delfest: A must-see festival

CUMBERLAND, Md. – My goodness, there’s a lot of music to be had here at Delfest. Friday’s program featured 14 bands on the venue’s three stages, and there’s just no way to take it all in.

But being the compulsive live music junkie I am, I determined to see a bit of everyone to offer back a slice to you, good reader.

While clearly being an impractical undertaking, festival life calls us all to deliver our levels of energy, endurance (and sleep deprivation).   These songs have a power, but they’re not gonna dance to themselves.  As an unsolicited side note I would like to offer a personal thanks to one of the festival’s product team, Guayaki for their delicious and efficacious product samples that kept me going.

But enough of this rambling, let’s have a look at some of the day’s festivities…

Joe Craven & The Sometimers (All photos by Costa Swanson)

Delfest’s master of ceremonies, Joe Craven, introduces each of the Grandstand stage’s acts with a lovely poem. A Delfest icon, Craven is well recognized for his outstanding taste in festival wear. Joe took time Friday morning to perform with his band, The Sometimers, working in a calypso-grass version of The Beatles’ Blackbird as colorful as his trousers.

The Kitchen Dwellers

Colorado’s Kitchen Dwellers were back in Maryland following their recent stop at Baltimore’s Charm City Bluegrass Festival.  They drew the Friday wake up show spot on the Potomac Stage, drawing the masses from their tents and RVs for a healthy dose of their Galaxy Grass.

Grand Ole’ Ditch with Cris Jacobs

Grand Ole’ Ditch, Cumberland’s own regional favorites, put on a hot early set in the Music Hall.  Baltimore boy Cris Jacobs, who followed with a set of his own blues rock, dropped in for a cover of The Grateful Dead’s Bertha that tore through the hall like a Tasmanian devil.


Returning from last year’s Delfest, Fruition drew a big crowd for both their Thursday Late Night show and their Friday encore show on the Potomac Stage.

Trey Anastasio Band

Friday’s featured headline act, the Trey Anastasio Band shook the Grandstand crowd with guitar and horn fueled feast for the ears. Bouncing and head bobbing through two sets, Anastasio gave a nod to his personal Delfest history, opening with Cayman Review, a song he opened with at his last Delfest show in 2013.  The big artist drop in of the day came when Del, Ronnie, and Robbie McCoury joined him on stage to play I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome and Beauty of My Dreams.

Touring with his side band ahead of summer Phish tour that will include a 13-night run at Madison Square Garden, Anastasio’s 22 song setlist included Sometime After Sunset from his most recent solo album Paper Wheels, four Phish songs, and covers of Gorillaz’ Clint Eastwood, and the Led Zeppelin classic Dazed and Confused.