Wow! Was that great, or what?
I managed to log about six and a half hours at Rest Fest on Sunday, and the primary thought that kept running through my mind was, “Damn, I wish I’d been able to have been here on Saturday, too!”
Day Two of the fest was, in fact, mighty fine. Scientific Maps churned out an excellent upbeat set with a last-minute sub on drums – due to an unexpected hand injury.
Grainbelt charged through a no-frills, twang-laced set of rockin’ and rollin’, and I’ve never heard singer-guitarist-bandleader Howe Glassman sound better. Was it the natural reverb of the massive church? Scientific Maps’ Aaron Smith joined in for some impromptu vocals, as well.
Alta Mira kept the energy and the volume churning with a sparkling set that climaxed with vocalist Joe D. Michon-Huneau passing out tambourines to members of the crowd that had gathered in front of the stage. Yes, there is such a thing as audience participation even in the cynical 21st century.
Sublime vocalist Sarah Pedinotti led Railbird, as they whipped through a perfectly exotic set with a pared down four-piece line-up, while fest organizers Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned wrapped up the two-day extravaganza with a deliciously howling, off-the-tracks set of magical horn-fueled music.
And then there was the lovely surprise of several solos and small combos who played intimate, unamplified, between-band sets in a small alcove tucked off the side of the main church. There were several art exhibits scattered throughout the church, too.
Even the merch table was special, stretching across a row of tables on the stage-right side of the church. From across the room, it looked like a really nifty garage sale. CDs, t-shirts, stickers and more were all on sale for ridiculously low prices; I walked away with seven CDs and two stickers for $20. And each merch purchaser was rewarded with a free cookie; I enjoyed a tasty oatmeal/chocolate chip.
Good news in the beer garden on the other side of the church, too. Ommegang’s Hennepin for $5? Now, that’s what I call civilized.
Co-organizer Alex Muro of Sgt. Dunbar seemed quite thrilled with event and the community response. “We’ll be back here again next year,” he said. “the last weekend of August.”
Save the date.
Photos by Jason Lehr. See more of his photos from Rest Fest here.