Familiar and New combine to make magic at the 2014 GrassRoots Festival

July 10, 2014 by Alan Rose

In just a week the tents and trailers will fill up the Trumansburg Fairground again as the 24th Annual GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance kicks off. The annual tradition runs from Thursday July 17th through Sunday July 20th, 2014, and it comes full of the familiar and the new. For the third year in a row, I’ll break down what’s happening for 14850 Magazine so you can be sure not to miss any of the hidden gems. Before delving into the musical cornucopia that is GrassRoots, though, I should mention a couple of the biggest changes.

First, although the official festival runs Thursday through Sunday, the organizers have added a Wednesday night concert at the Grandstand featuring Keller Williams with the Travelin’ McCourys. Williams is a guitarist with a mastery of looping pedals who has performed in Ithaca several times, and the Travelin’ McCourys will look familiar to anyone who caught bluegrass legend Del McCoury’s past appearances at GrassRoots -- it’s the band that backed him and features two of his sons. They’ll team up for a set of songs that straddle the line between modern day acoustic experimentation and classic bluegrass.

Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins. 14850 Photo.Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins. 14850 Photo.Opening the show will be the duo of Jeb Puryear and Tara Nevins, better known as the primary songwriters behind host-band Donna the Buffalo. Gates open around 7:15 for the 8pm show, and close back up after it’s over. It’s a separate admission fee from the festival. There’s no camping allowed Wednesday night, and no coolers either, but there will be food and beverages available for purchase.

Which leads to the next big change, which I’ll keep brief because this article is about music, not policies. This year, leave your single-serve glass bottles at home and bring your plastic cups and coozies. Coolers are welcome at the festival itself, but single-serve glass bottles aren’t. And neither are public displays of alcohol. The single-serve bottle ban applies regardless of whether they contain juice, soda, milk, beer, or something else entirely. Those who are drinking alcohol will be asked to put their cans in coozies or to pour their drinks into mugs or cups (reusable or recyclable, of course). You can read more about all of the GrassRoots policies and also about the Wednesday night concert at the official GrassRoots web site and Facebook page. Visit there for links to the full schedule, performer web sites, volunteer information, and more.

So what other changes do the GrassRoots organizers have in store for us? Well, for starters, there are the headliners. Most years, you can expect a big, recognizable name from Country, one from Reggae or African music, and one from one of several identifiable genres like Celtic, Zydeco, or New Orleans Jazz. This year, the headliners don’t fit those categories quite so neatly. First, in case you haven’t heard, Dickey Betts and Great Southern had to drop out because Betts underwent emergency eye surgery just over a week before the festival.

With the founding Allman Brothers member off the bill, Lake Street Dive are in the number-one position when it comes to name recognition. This quartet has only been at it a short time in relation to Betts (about a decade), but they’ve certainly turned plenty of heads with their unique blend of soul, jazz, pop, and a smidge of country, not to mention the talents of vocal powerhouse Rachael Price. Their buzz has built with recent appearances on The Colbert Report and on NPR’s Morning Edition, but the talent has been there from the start. Check YouTube for their live-on-the-street cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” (which appears on their 2012 ep Fun Machine) as an easy introduction, then dig deeper into their original material from this year’s Bad Self Portraits or their previous self-titled release and you’ll get a sense of why they’re near the top of my short list of bands not to miss this year.

Also near the top of my must-see list is Brooklyn’s Red Baraat, who take elements of banghra and brass band music, throw in  some hip-hop and go-go for good measure, and turn it all into a high energy dance party. Much like the What Cheer? Brigade that played an excellent, punky set of middle-eastern inspired music arranged for a New Orleans-style street brass band at an Ithaca Underground show this winter, this is going to be a high-energy and undeniably fun performance. I think that Red Baraat is the band that everyone is going to be raving about after the festival. My pick last year was Fatoumata Diawara, and she far surpassed my expectations. The Grandstand is the place to be on Saturday night for this brass explosion.

And I can’t talk about brass without pointing out Conjunto Chappotin y Sus Estrellas, Cuban legends who are on their first tour of the United States. Like returning acoustic duo Cortadito, Conjunto Chappotin play a style of music called Son, but theirs is a widescreen, Technicolor version. Think big band, Cuban style, and bring your dancing shoes to their set at the Grandstand on Saturday afternoon. This is an opportunity that doesn’t come along often.

Fans of Latin music beyond Son will find plenty to love this year, too, particularly the return of festival favorites Locos Por Juana for sets in the Dance tent on Friday and on the Grandstand on Saturday. If the blend of reggae, Latin, and hip-hop that Locos Por Juana excel at are your thing, be sure to also go over to the dance tent on Saturday to see fellow Miami-based band Lanzallamas, and see them again at the Grandstand on Sunday evening.

Two past GrassRoots Band Contest participants on the bill also bring different takes on these styles and add politically conscious lyrics, with Albany’s Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde leaning toward reggae and 2013 winners Dos XX (pronounced just like the beer), led by Cortland’s Colleen Kattau, veering more acoustic. And for Spanish language hip-hop and funk, check out Danay Suarez.

Sophistafunk at GrassRoots 2013.Sophistafunk at GrassRoots 2013.Hip hop and rap are well represented this year. Like Suarez, Miami’s wonderfully named Telekinetic Walrus are making their Trumansburg debut. So are new locals Hashassassins. Syracuse-based Sophistafunk are back on the bill, too, and ready for action. 

But GrassRoots veterans The Gunpoets, fresh off releasing a live CD recorded at Ithaca’s Hangar Theatre in a performance so hot it set off the fire alarm, are surely among the most anticipated performers in this or any other genre for many attendees. Their upbeat, anthemic rapping joins positive messages with memorable musical hooks (usually courtesy of keyboardist Colin Smith or guitarist Elliot Rich) that can turn even people who dismiss the genre into big fans. Catch them in the infield on Friday and Sunday. And it’s probably not giving anything away to tell you to expect a special guest or two.

Maddy Walsh fronts the Blind Spots.Maddy Walsh fronts the Blind Spots.That’s because Maddy Walsh, of the Blind Spots, turns up regularly to join the Gunpoets on their collaboration “Make You Happy” from their last studio album. The Blind Spots are a musical force in their own right, and they’ve also got two sets this year – one each on the Grandstand and Infield stages. They draw musical inspiration from the harder edge of classic rock, and Walsh has an expressive voice that sends everything she sings into the stratosphere. She’s a truly great front person. 

Fans of the Blind Spots should be sure to check out Adrienne Mack-Davis on Friday in the Cabaret and Athanasia on the Grandstand on Sunday afternoon. Though both have a bit more of a modern rock flavor in their sound, they’re naturally complementary and fronted by vocalists who can hold their own with Walsh. 

You can also rock along with the Falconers, the latest project from Milkweed’s Bess Greenberg and Yolk’s Jimmy John McCabe, who will show up in the Dance Tent on Sunday. Though they play upright bass and acoustic guitar, their set is going to be anything but sedate. Equally rocking despite their folk instrumentation are returners Calico Moon, who take the Cabaret stage on Friday. Kenny T. and Wildfire return to the Cabaret on Thursday with their country-rock-influenced sounds, and GrassRoots newcomers 5 Mile Drive will mix classic rock and originals in the Cabaret on Sunday.

Fans of harder edged rock will enjoy a trio of bands led by guitarists and vocalists from other bands with a GrassRoots history. The Sound Awake recently relocated to Nashville. Fronted by Nick Bullock, formerly of the jammy/funky band Revision that formed at Ithaca College, this new, heavier project released an excellent album at the end of last year. Diwas Gurung, who played guitar in Ayurveda, returns to the Grandstand for more of his self-described NeoNepalese Folk. He’s using the term “Folk” to describe the music’s origins; don’t expect acoustic guitars and sing-along refrains. This is electric guitar-driven rock with Nepalese underpinnings. His fellow former Ayurveda bandmates Shikhar Bajracharya and Tom Burchinal have returned in a duo called Grey Gary that finds them splitting time on guitar, drums, and vocals, and looping with abandon.

First North American Lunar has played at GrassRoots Retro Gravy.First North American Lunar has played at GrassRoots Retro Gravy.Although similar swappers and GrassRoots veterans Hiroshima Vacation are no longer together, there will still be a fair amount of punkier sounds during the weekend. Expect the unexpected from Park Doing, who has fronted experimental rock and straight-ahead country bands around town over the past few years. And watch out for First North American Lunar, led by former Donna the Buffalo drummer Tom Gilbert, who are similarly unpredictable. There’s also the sibling duo Sihasin, two thirds of past GrassRoots favorites Blackfire, who are returning once again. Jeneda and Clayson Bennaly make a big sound with just a bass, drums, and two vocals.

Keith Secola and his Wild Band of Indians.Keith Secola and his Wild Band of Indians.You can also see Jeneda and Clayson perform with their father as part of the Jones Benally Family Dance Troupe. Jones Benally and his family have been sharing Native American traditions and dances with the GrassRoots family for many years and their performance is always a highlight. Similarly, Moontee Sinquah and his sons will return. Moontee has sets on Friday in the dance tent and Sunday in the infield, and he and his sons Scott and Samson will all probably show up to join in with Keith Secola and His Wild Band of Indians for a festival-capping performance on Sunday at the Grandstand. Secola also has a set on Friday on the Infield. 

It’s difficult to picture GrassRoots without Secola, Sinquah, and the Bennaly Family because they have been part of it for so long. GrassRoots has always brought Native American musicians as a core part of the line-up, and this year is no different. Also returning to the festival are singer-songwriters Bear Fox, who played a sweet set on the Grandstand on Friday morning last year and will do so again this year, and Atsiaktonkie, who blends classic rock and traditional styles. He’s got two sets this year, one on the Infield on Thursday afternoon and one on Saturday night in Cabaret Hall. On the more traditional side of Native American music, you won’t want to miss Native American flute master Dan Hill of the Cayuga Nation, who has sets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Other long-time favorites are returning, too. Starting with The Flying Clouds of South Carolina, whose high-spirited gospel music always raises the mood and gets people dancing. They’ve got sets on Friday and Saturday. Then there are father-son bandleaders Keith and Preston Frank, each of whom will play multiple sets with their bands (The Soileau Zydeco Band and His Family Zydeco Band, respectively) throughout the weekend, including the traditional all-night-long set in the Dance Tent on Saturday. And Cajun accordionist Walter Mouton is back with his Scott Playboys for a pair of sets on Friday and Saturday. He’s a master of two-steps and waltzes and although he retired from his weekly performance at La Poussiere in Beaux Bridge, Louisiana a couple of years ago, he still returns faithfully to Trumansburg to get us dancing. All of these bands are an integral part of the GrassRoots sound. And Cajun-pop up-and-comers Feufollet will round out an excellent weekend for lovers of Lousiana styles with a pair of sets in the dance tent, including a late night one on Friday. They are another of the bands I’m most looking forward to, a band I’d heard about long before I finally got to hear them.

Another Louisiana-based performer who comes with built-up anticipation is guitarist Anders Osborne, who takes the infield on Saturday night. Osborne was supposed to open for Toots and the Maytals at Ithaca’s State Theatre in May 2013, but an injury that continues to sideline Frederick “Toots” Hibbert forced the State to cancel that show at the last minute. GrassRoots is bringing Osborne this year, and I’m looking forward to finally witnessing his guitar and songwriting prowess in person. He is definitely another one for my short list of must-sees.

Hank Roberts at GrassRoots Retro Gravy.Hank Roberts at GrassRoots Retro Gravy.Not that all of my must-sees are new-to-me. First of all, virtuoso jazz cellist Hank Roberts is back on the schedule with a Sunday morning set at the Grandstand. He’s not only among the finest players in the world, he’s also one of the nicest and most generous musicians I’ve ever met. He recently started playing a bit more often locally than he had been for the past couple of years, and it sounds like he has a new project brewing. 

The Believers, who take the Infield stage Sunday evening, are also returning. They fit in the alt.country genre that indicates a mix of twang and rock, with solid songs and stand-out lead and harmony vocals from both Craig Aspen and Cynthia Frazzini. They’ve been a favorite since I first heard them play.

Also returning to the area, but making his GrassRoots debut, is Balla Kouyate, master of the balafon. The balafon is sort of like a vibraphone or xylophone, but made of wood. Its origins date back to twelfth century Mali. Kouyate and his band World Vision played an amazing show at the Haunt a couple of years ago, and I’ve been looking forward to seeing him again ever since.

Samite at GrassRoots.Samite at GrassRoots.There’s not as much music from the African continent this year as there has been in years past, but in addition to Kouyate, long-time GrassRoots favorite Samite is back. He and his band weave hypnotic textures based on melodies from his kalimba, marimba, or flute that get the crowd bouncing and singing along every year. 

And Syracuse native Joe Driscoll is teaming up with Sekou Kouyate for a blend of reggae, afrobeat, funk, hip hop, and more led by Kouyate’s kora melodies. A kora is an African harp, and is no stranger to Grassroots stages, including during sets by former Ithacan Mamadou Diabate. But unlike many players, Kouyate plays it standing up, which adds a lot of energy to the performance. This is another one of those sets that I expect people to be buzzing about after the festival.

Reggae and afrobeat are well-represented by bands from Ithaca and the surrounding area, too. Long-time favorites John Brown’s Body are back, as are both JBB leader’s more dub-heavy project Black Castle and former JBB singer/guitarist Kevin Kinsella. There’s plenty of good songwriting to go around in all three bands.

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad are also back on the Grandstand. Thousands of One return for a pair of sets, including what’s sure to be another in their series of memorable Dance Tent blasts on Saturday night and an early Thursday evening stop in the Infield. And Ithaca diaspora band Big Mean Sound Machine, who backed up local favorite Jsan a couple of years ago, are on the Infield on Friday. They certainly live up to the Big part of their name, with up to sixteen members depending on who is able to make the trip in. They just released an excellent new CD on the local Angry Mom Records label.

Angry Mom Records is also home to a 7" release by the one-and-only Johnny Dowd, who returns this year both with a set of his own on Friday and as part of the Mike Cook-led Tin Teardrops on Saturday. Angry Mom are stalwart supporters of the local music scene, including working closely with Ithaca Underground, an organization that puts together an amazingly large number of all-ages shows, many of which feature local DIY bands of various sorts. There are at least three bands from the IU scene on Thursday this year. The RealBads, who are the first band on the Grandstand, are fronted by Isabel Reidy, whose old band Fight a Scary Dog was a punky, acoustic delight that skated on the edge of old-time music without the fiddles. The Realbads still have that punk attitude and Reidy’s lyrical flights of fancy and in-your-face vocals, but they’ve shifted to electric guitars and their sound draws more from the 80s and 90s college/alternative rock scenes than roots music.

The Realbads share a member or two with Kites In Space, who won the Band Contest two years ago with their acoustic-based, catchy folk rock and return for another set in Cabaret Hall on the cusp of releasing a long-awaited new album. Songwriting, harmonies, and interesting arrangements have always been a focus for this band, which evolved out of past contest-winners Seth Feldman. 

On the other hand, the Newman Brothers are known as much for the visual spectacle of their live set, which usually features a gorilla performing magic tricks (that’d be Toto Newman), a dancing raptor, and a series of unforgettable costume changes – as for their excellent funky music. The brothers (Podunk, Dirty, and Paul Blart Jr. Newman are the primary songwriters and vocalists) added a horn section at last year’s Ithaca Festival, released a children’s CD during their set at this year’s Ithaca Festival that features crowd-pleasers like “Pee Dance” and “Put On a Seatbelt!” They promise more musical mayhem for their Cabaret-opening set on Thursday.

Jimkata lighting up the Grandstand Stage.Jimkata lighting up the Grandstand Stage.If its spectacle that you’re after, look no further than Ithaca’s own Jimkata, who return along with their light show and who knows what other props to close out the Grandstand on Friday night. These four electro-rockers have become a seasoned touring band in recent years and their local shows are few and far between, so it will be a treat to see them again. And fans of this style who are disappointed not to see Rubblebucket on the schedule should be sure to check out Afrobeta in the Dance Tent on Saturday night. Female vocals, electronic beats, and synthesizers suggest they might be just what you’re looking for. The late night dance parties will also be enhanced by the return of DJ Cappel on Friday night and Hectorworks Sound System (also DJs) on Saturday. 

For more dancing of a participatory sort, there are plenty of options. Those wondering where Bobby Henrie and the Goners went should make sure to get to the Dance Tent on Thursday for the Djangoners, which teams singer/guitarist Henrie and upright bassist Brian Williams of the Goners with fiddler Eric Aceto and guitarist Harry Aceto of Djug Django, who have had a standing Wednesday night engagement at the venue that is now Lot 10 since its days as the Lost Dog. Fans of old-time rock and roll should also plan to check out Luke G. and  the Candyhearts. They’re in the Dance Tent on Friday night and the Cabaret on Saturday.

Sometimes, though, dance is for watching rather than doing, and for that, GrassRoots is bringing not only the previously mentioned Native American dancers from the Benally and Sinquah families, but also perennial favorites Galumpha, who bring their astounding acrobatics back to the Grandstand on Saturday evening after an appearance on the Infield stage last year. New this year is the Wassa PanAfrika Dance Ensemble, a group of dancers and musicians founded by Nana Kwasi Anim of Ghana. He has been living and teaching drumming and dancing in the Ithaca area. Catch them on the Grandstand on Saturday and the Infield on Sunday.

Teaching is a big part of what Read Along Songs with John Simon and Cal Walker are about. The duo came together under the auspices of the Family Reading Partnership, which seeks to increase literacy by ensuring that all children in the county have access to books and are introduced to the fun and power of reading at an early age. The duo travel to area schools, where all of the students recognize them. They’ll bring their act to the Cabaret on Sunday morning.

From there, head over to the Infield to hear the songs and message of New York Youth Against Fracking (NYYAF), a group of young activists who are working to educate people about why it is important to ban hydrofracking in New York State. They gained national attention when they won a contest sponsored by Artists Against Fracking, the prize for which included meeting Gasland director Josh Fox as well as Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon.

Ithaca is known for its socially and environmentally conscious musicians, and they’ll be out in force at this year’s festival. The Sim Redmond Band, whose song “Life Is Water” was embraced by the anti-fracking movement, will be back on the Grandstand on Friday and in the Infield on Sunday.

Driftwood at GrassRoots 2013.Driftwood at GrassRoots 2013.Driftwood, who are the only band to have won the Band Contest twice and who have worked hard and toured hard to build on that success, will be back on the Grandstand on Friday and in the Dance Tent on Saturday. They have been regular performers on the bill of GrassRoots-sponsored Big Splash environmental awareness events throughout the region. They’ve always been an acoustic band with a rock and roll heart, and it continues to shine through. 

Driftwood are one of many bands in this year’s lineup that were influenced by old-time music, and one of many that took it in their own unique direction. It’s an impressive list that reaches back to the beginnings of the modern local movement with appearances by John Specker – in the infield solo on Saturday night and with his daughters as The Speckers on Friday – and Mac Benford and Up South in the Dance Tent on Thursday and the Cabaret on Saturday. Also firmly on traditional ground are long-time GrassRoots participants the Dead Sea Squirrels, who will once again be playing for a square dance in the Dance Tent on Friday and Saturday mornings. 

On the slightly less traditional side of old-timey, there are newcomers Honey Spine, from Fredonia, who sound like they were influenced by the Avett Brothers; Trumansburg’s own Notorious String Busters, who bill themselves as bluegrass and have been known to cover deep album cuts by classic rock bands; and Barefoot Movement, a quartet from Tennesee who shouldn’t be confused with Bearfoot, a similarly-named band who played GrassRoots several years back. Though that wouldn’t be such a bad thing because both bands share more than a homonym: they’re both co-ed groups with strong instrumentalists, great lead and harmony vocals, engaging songs, and both relocated to Nashville. The Barefoot Movement will be on the Grandstand on Sunday, and I’m planning to be there, too. 

The Horseflies.The Horseflies.The Horseflies, who were among the first to introduce outside elements into string band music and come away with something completely unique, are back again, this year on the Infield on Saturday. The Horseflies’ Richie Stearns has been a member of Rockwood Ferry, an ever-evolving group led by singer-songwriter guitarist Tenzin Chopak. They’ll be in the Dance Tent on Thursday and will close out the Cabaret on Sunday. 

Stearns is always one of the busiest musicians at the festival, and this year will be no different. Among other things, he has a pair of duo appearances with Rosie Newton on Thursday and Sunday nights in the infield. They released an excellent CD of traditional-leaning music called Tractor Beam last year and toured extensively behind it. The duo will also join forces with former Donna the Buffalo members Jim Miller and Jed Greenberg to play a pair of slightly more country-leaning sets as Red Dog Run on Friday in the Dance Tent and Sunday in the Cabaret. And don’t be surprised if Stearns sits in with James Leva and Danny Nicely during their duo sets on Thursday in the Dance Tent and Friday on the Grandstand. He and Leva were bandmates in the Renegades in the 90s. Leva’s list of past collaborations is miles long, and he draws from the Appalachian music tradition. Stearns is also part of the Bubba George Stringband, who have their traditional festival-opening slot on Thursday in the infield and will also appear in the Dance Tent on Sunday. 

Bubba George, for those who don’t know, is a fairly traditional old-timey quartet (sometimes quintet) featuring former and current members of host band Donna the Buffalo and close friends. Donna will play sets of their own on Thursday and Saturday nights in addition to backing up prolific country songwriter Jim Lauderdale for his set on Friday and serving as the house band for an all-star review to close out the festival starting late Sunday night. 

Paso Fino in the Cabaret Hall.Paso Fino in the Cabaret Hall.You can also catch Donna guitarist Jeb Puryear in Bubba George, in his own Jeb & Friends set on Saturday morning in the Cabaret, and sitting in with others throughout the weekend. His Bubba George bandmate Shane Lamphier is the lead guitarist in Paso Fino, who are one of those bands that seems to only play about once a year nowadays. That’s a shame because I love singer-guitarist Diana Andersen’s powerful vocals and memorable melodies. You can hear them for yourself Friday afternoon in the Cabaret.

Mary Lorson and the Soubrettes.Mary Lorson and the Soubrettes.You’ve probably noticed that this year’s lineup is chock full of terrific female vocalists and songwriters like Andersen, but I still haven’t mentioned all of them. Keyboardist and guitarist Mary Lorson is back in the Cabaret on Thursday, promising a blend of old and new material. I’ve loved her work with Saint Low and with the Soubrettes over the last several years and I’m looking forward to hearing what comes next. Anna Coogan has quickly made her mark on the local scene with her moody, catchy original songs. She’ll be in the Cabaret on Saturday night and is running a songwriting workshop on Sunday. Grassroots veteran Amy Puryear is back with The Double EE, singing sweet original country songs in the Infield on Saturday. And Five2, the trio of sisters Charrise and Yvette along with Uniit, are back in action after a long hiatus. You can hear their divine three-part harmonies in the Cabaret on Saturday. They’re always one of the highlights of any show they are a part of. 

Sibling harmonies are also prominent in The Nepotist, the latest project from Chris Frank, the guitarist from IY, and his bass-playing brother Hayden, along with drummer Jacob Colin Cohen. They showcase their alt-soul originals in the Cabaret on Sunday. That happens just after another family act, The Grady Girls, finishes up their set of Irish dance tunes on the Infield. There’s not as much Celtic music in the lineup this year as usual, but in addition to the Gradys, locals Traonach will also be back to play a set on Thursday in the Cabaret. 

Then there are the elements that have been on the schedule for years but are different each time around. The GrassRoots Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Cayenna Ponchione, always starts Sunday morning with a touch of class. The program is always a mix of the familiar and the new, often tied together thematically. The GrassRoots Songwriters Circle that happens a bit later Sunday features a rotating group of songwriters in the round, most of whom you’ll have heard on stage in different formats earlier in the weekend. And Friday’s GrassRoots Fiddle, Banjo, Guitar and Mandolin Competition and Saturday’s GrassRoots Band Contest are the most unpredictable of all. These are the two times that the Grandstand Stage gets turned over to audience members, and though we never know what to expect, the results are always inspiring.

And as if that musical variety isn’t enough, there will once again be a children’s area with a full schedule of performances and activities, a series of workshops on topics ranging from meditation to singing, and of course the Happiness Parade, which once again starts at the Art Barn on Sunday at 2pm. The schedule for these areas, as well as the Healing Arts area, will be available at the festival itself as well as in the soon-to-be-released GrassRoots magazine. Speaking of Healing Arts, there will be Yoga and Tensegrity sessions in the Dance Tent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings. 

For other sorts of art, don’t forget to visit the craft vendors and the food vendors to satisfy your appetites, and to stop in to check out what’s being displayed in the Art Barn. And, of course, one of my most frequent stops during the weekend is the CD booth, which allows me to take home a little piece of the performers so I can keep the festival going all year long. You should, too. All proceeds from the sales of CDs go right back to the performers, so buying them at the festival is one of the best ways to financially support your favorites. There will also be GrassRoots T-Shirts and other merchandise for sale (including coozies to help hide your drinks and keep them cool longer).

And now, to keep with tradition, I’ll repeat the closing sentiments from my first GrassRoots roundup article from 2012 because they still ring true and because I can’t think of a better way to say it: Whatever your tastes, whatever your interests, chances are GrassRoots has something for you. From old favorites to the new best thing ever, from expected highlights to newfound treasures, the music-lover’s paradise awaits. And it’s all right at the Trumansburg Fairgrounds, July 17-20, 2014. See you there!

Alan Rose is not only a constant fixture in the audience at local music events, he's a talented songwriter and performer. Alan Rose and the Restless Elements released Alan's third CD, "American Hands," four years ago. 
For more, follow 14850.com on Facebook and Twitter.


Wings Over Ithaca


335 Pine Tree Road
East Hill Plaza
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-256-9464

Read the review

AGAVA Restaurant


381 Pine Tree Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-4366

Read the review