By: Lekia Clark ENGL 336.001
Frostburg, MD— the ground is wet and people are donning hooded sweatshirts and light jackets just to enjoy the 2013 Appalachian Festival. Even though it is raining slightly the festival still has a huge turnout. Students along with family and friends wander around FSU’s upper quad taking in different things that the festival has to offer such as food, music, table sales, story-telling and much more.
When first entering the upper quad I encountered an FSU student by the name of Brandon Kelly handing out Appalachian festival event schedules. When ask why he volunteered to be a part of the festival he replied “I really enjoy it and it brings together the community while giving me a chance to bond with other students.” Kelly who has been volunteering at the festival the past two years is also helping with the children’s tent where kids of different ages go and make different crafts.
Among the different areas people are interested in, the “Jam Tent” beside the Guild building is the one that seems to attract the most attention. That is because Hemlock Grove, a string based band is playing instruments such as the banjo, guitar, and violin. Hemlock Grove is a band that consists of three members Jason Twigg, Mitch Hall, and Fritz Kessler—a FSU geography professor. The band is Frostburg based and is known for playing mountain music —a genre of North American folk music with ties to roots of many different cultures.
The audience consisted of primarily older people from the community but there were some young faces lingering around and dogs too. The first row near the “stage” where the performers were set up held some of FSU’s English department staff. The music was upbeat and had a lot of the audience nodding their heads and tapping their feet. People towards the back tuned in and out of the performance while occasionally holding conversations with others. When asked about the performance Menule Cosner, a member of the audience stated “I like the band before but I love this mountain music” while gesture towards the recent Hemlock Grove band.
Some of the audience left the jam tent after Hemlock Grove ended their performance and explored the rest of the festival grounds where they had vendors set up selling quilts, crafts, baskets, jewelry and more. Sam Blum, a FSU student at the festival was excited about everything the festival had to offer “I have to get a shirt for my mom she would love this type of stuff” he said.
While roaming around I came across a food vendor named Jearbryo’s that sold me a huge crab cake on a bun with lettuce and tomatoes for just 7 dollars that was simply delicious. Soon after I ate and got a good look around the festival one more time the rain came and the rest of the scheduled events were cancelled for the day. Even though the weather caused the festival to end early plenty people still had a great time and enjoyed socializing, next year is sure to be a success if the weather is permitting.