Did you feel that? No it wasn't another almost-hurricane. It was a shift. While you were busy Snapchatting indie rock shows, something happened in South Florida. A wave of actually good folk-bluegrass-finger-picking bands have emerged and taken up stake as another local music subculture. Who woulda thunk, there are even enough of these stringed bands to launch their own festival.
The inaugural South Florida String Festival hits Hollywood on November 10, to not only highlight the rising bluegrass scene, but showcase how well these bands fit into our local landscape. String-based bands come in all shapes and sizes. At first glance, it might be hard to tell but Everymen's crusty punk-folk and the jamtastic Americana of the Short Straw Pickers have a lot in common.
Other bands taking part in the 12 hour fest include Uproot Hootenanny, Bungled and Botched, and a sprinkling of acts from other genres, ensuring String Fest has a little something for everyone. To a band like Upright Hootenanny, this event is a long time coming. Banjo player David Welch explained, "We've been playing in this area for a long time. At the beginning, there wasn't a lot of old-time, traditional, bluegrass or Celtic music. All the live music was rock, funk, reggae, etc." But that shift is palpable and Welch can see it clearly. "There are more bands in the area with folk and traditional instrumentation than ever, all of which have a different approach and a unique style. It's exciting to be a part of it."
There is a special vibe that comes with bluegrass. Bungled and Botched are known for their show-stopping musicianship, but guitarist and vocalist Chris Vincent is working toward creating a real community. He said, "The type of music we write and perform is designed to enable all the players out there to accompany each other whenever we get to take the stage."
The String Festival lineup is also serving up a healthy portion of non-stringiness including Fort Lauderdale rockers The Goddamn' Hustle and Lantana reggae outfit Future Prezidents. Future Prez's lead singer Boe Simeonov sees similarities between the two genres. "The spirit of bluegrass, as with reggae, is communal," he told us. "There are no egos."
The stacked lineup is reason enough to support this festival, but being a part of a new movement is where the real importance lies. Every band on the bill is emitting a sense of community, so why not join in? This shift is happening whether you like it or not.
South Florida String Festival. Sunday, November 10, from noon to midnight, at Club Vault, 2801 Green Street, Hollywood. Uproot Hootenanny, The Short Straw Pickers, Bungled and Botched, Everymen, and more. Tickets are $20 general admission, $50 for VIP. For more information and to buy tickets, visit southfloridastringfest.com
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