Dashville Skyline # 3- 2017
Day # 1
The Cosmic Country Long Weekend in Lower Belford was a wonderful gathering of family, friends and musicians. Once again, the no rain policy was in effect, and it was warm and sunny with some coolness during the evening. The setting under the eucalyptus trees on the Johnson’s property is simply, my happy place, for all of the above reasons.
Easing into Dashville with the top down and cruising up to a glamping tent the biggest concern on my mind was where is the sunscreen and how cold is my beer. As you could tell, my stress levels were considerably non-existent. As it was early and had been advised by my loving wife to ‘behave on Friday and save some of me for her on Saturday”, I grabbed the sunscreen and avoided a cold one for a few minutes while I discharged my festival gear from the vehicle.
Friday kicked off with music to set up your campground to. Jen Mize brought her country sounds to the Townes Hall stage and Lyle Dennis got the Willie Wall stage going with his fine song writing and playing/singing.
Fallon Cush came “all the way” from Sydney and as the sun started settling down in the sky and people grabbed a burrito or a skewer of lamb and settled down for a fine set by Steve Smith and his band.
After a few excellent libations with friends and new mates, Dan Tuffy (Wild Pumpkins At Midnight) rolled out this sweet solo project. Working with Lucie Thorne, Matt Walker and Shane Reilly they were one of the highlights of Day 1 and highly appreciated by the audience. Hearing the sweet sounds of a pedal steel through the gum trees is something everyone should experience at least once.
Flying in from Memphis was the extraordinary Valerie June. June was rocking some serious stage finery and besides the sounds she pulled out of her guitar and banjo, she was a vision to behold. Her voice struck some as affected, but this listener found her engaging and unique. She blended a hybrid of the Hill Country sound with some pop seasoning and definitely acquired some new fans on the dusty roads of Dashville.
The first night of Dashville is always a hoot and you can always see that people are truly getting primed for the weekend ahead. Drinks in hand and big illegal smiles seemed to be what most people wandering around were wearing.
William Crighton and his band closed it down on Friday night. His presence is still as big as ever and his sound continues to echo a bit of Neil Young tinged guitar here and there. His song writing is superb, his band is top notch and it was one very fulfilling hour. Dancing was de rigueur and all the Dashvillians meandered off to their campsites with a bellyful of music and good times. No doubt, there would be soreheads when the sun came up on Saturday.
Day # 2
Some bleary eyes and some crooked smiles greeted Saturday morning at Dashville. Breakfast was found and coffee was gulped. Some more people streamed into the campsites and Matt Walker gave us some early morning tunes after a night in his swag. Walker appeared to look like a Dashville native in that is he slept little and played some beautiful tunes. Lucie Thorne and Jason Walker also added to the breakfast servings.
The afternoon was spent wandering around listening to Magpie Diaries serve up some Hunter Americana and Tim Easton producing a sweet set while we sipped cocktails back at the glampville. I can highly recommend the glamping option if you are busy and/or lazy!
With one ex-Jayhawk in attendance, Mark Olson, we dashed over to see if he would cover some of his old tunes. Joined by his partner Ingunn Ringvold there were some covers delivered. Although it was a draw card for many of us to hear some tunes from Olson, the set list consisted of quite a few songs from Ringvold’s album “Spokeswoman Of The Bright Sun”. Overall, a very underwhelming and somewhat bizarre set lacked true joy.
Cash Savage and the Last Drinks stormed onto the main stage and floored the Dashville crowd. Savage was prowling the stage and the music was at times was rocking and in your face. Simply, this was the highlight of the Saturday gathering.
The Teskey Brothers made their first appearance at Dashville and delivered a bluesy group of tunes that fit into the groove of the day perfectly. Sam and Josh discovered soul from their Mom and Dad’s record collection and they have learned it very well. They are an act to keep an eye on.
As the night whirled on, people were looking forward to a dance, and what is better than dancing to some ace covers delivered by The Dashville Progress Society? With the stage filled with friends and musicians from the weekend, we were treated to “Rhinestone Cowboy” and Bad Company’s “Feel Like Making Love”, which got everyone singing along. The Society added some jam band music to the mix with The Allman Brothers “Whipping Post” which was well done and well received.
During this lengthy Allman jam, I turned to a fellow festivalgoer and said, “All we need now is some Grateful Dead to close this shindig down!” Lo and behold, the Dashville Progress Society pulled “Fire On The Mountain” out of their hat and got their Dead reggae on. Smiling faces were all around!
Day # 3
Winding down with some tunes and some food and some more grog was the end of the long weekend. Wrapping it up with a roast dinner, served a wee bit late, some Rugby League if you so desired, or just communing with your mates, it was a pleasurable day relaxing.
Dashville Skyline is a treasure of a festival and there were few complaints heard. Some folks were a bit concerned about the lack of toilet paper and cleanliness of the toilets at times (the game needs to be lifted slightly there) and some thought we needed some more honky tonk and music to boogie our socks off with to make it a bit more energetic. Something to keep in mind for the hygiene factor and dancers amongst us for next year folks?
But overall, it is a magical spot to spend the Long Weekend with like-minded people in the country. 3 years in a row, I have spent under those eucalyptus trees and I do hope for more to come. Thanks once again to the Johnston crew for having us all.