Saturday was The 2nd Annual 1/2 Way to Winfield Festival at Kelly’s Irish Pub in Wichita, Kansas.
After hours of partying with the most fun boot stomping, skirt flying, beer and whisky drinking folk in the city, I realize that these are my people. The place was packed. Its got that raw, want to hang out with my friends at home kind of feel. This is a laid back neighborhood bar with great music, dancing and lots of drinking in a fun and great atmosphere. I like it, especially the bra’s and stuff hanging on the Elk head on the wall behind the antique bar. Kevin the owner is really proud of the place and for good reason. He’s married to Kelly’s. And she’s got some soul.
Craig Ainsworth and Brandon Blaylock/Prairie Fire Production Co, did one heck of a job organizing this gig and together with Kevin/Kelly’s Irish Pub and some really talented musicians, these guys were able to show us the love.
Six featured bands performed back to back for twelve hours, bellowing out some phenomenal music: Fresh Green Grass started at about 2:00 pm. A family band and trio, their style is a low down earthy bluegrass sound that is simple, yet wonderful and a great way to open the event. Hipbilly, a masterful four piece combo of hillbilly and hippy with a bluegrass contemporary/progressive feel. This is a cool bunch, maybe they drive a Volkswagen bus? I want to go!
Ok…The Skirts, an all female trio group with a Nora Jones kind of soft sound, their amazing harmonies, and magical songwriting, a simple elegance that just flows naturally. Then there’s the Calamity Cubes, a four piece hit it hard and down and dirty bluegrass band that’s edgy and has a driving feel. They like simple things, like floating down the river and drinking beer. Cool, I’m there! Carrie Nation & The Speak Easy, a five piece aggressive country/blues dixieland/bluegrass group with a delta blues/ New Orleans sound. The trombone that was blaring out some action made it seem like I was down in the French Quarter. Fast Food Junkies with their strong vocals, and blues/bluegrass feel, infused with a heavy metal influence and lots of talent closed down the live line up of artists for the night.
There’s always a group that sticks out. And for me, and I’ll catch some flack for this surely, it’s not alway the headliner.
The Skirts. I say, sign them up.
The Walnut Valley Festival/ The Winfield Bluegrass Festival isn’t until the 3rd week of September, but, the Bluegrass buzz we got this weekend should have made things a little easier for us. Hang on folks, we’re half way to Winfield. Only six more months.