Concerthopper.com was recently a part of the 8th annual Papa Joe’s BanjoBQue Music Festival (PJBBQ) at the Lady Antebellum (Lady A) Amphitheater in Evans, Georgia. Since 2010, PJBBQ has had a vision to bring great food and unbelievable music to Evans, Ga. during the Memorial Day weekend. Just like back in 2010, when they had Ricky Skaggs and Old Crow Medicine Show as their very first headliners. This year’s BanjoBQue artist lineup boasts such names as The Avett Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, The Defibulators, Banditos, Natchez Tracers, Cicada Rhythm, The Hog Slop String Band, Harvest Thieves, Sailing to Denver, Niles Foley, and many other incredible artists. And this does not even mention all of the BBQ vendors that are located all over the Lady A Amphitheater vying to become the 2017 Papa Joe’s BanjoBQue Cook-off Champion!
A couple really special points to make is that this festival allows its patrons to bring canopies or sun shades and even your dog is allowed inside to listen to some picking and grinning. Yes, you read correctly that your pup is also allowed at the BanjoBQue Music Festival. But fair warning that it gets really hot during the day, so be prepared to supply your canine pal with plenty of drinking water and shade! Speaking of drinking plenty of water and having some shade, this is a warning that everyone at the festival should heed especially when you spend this much time outdoors. And it also doesn’t help that EVERY beer onsite is only $4.
Tell me what festival can you attend that will sell all beers as cheap as $4? Now this is not a small selection of your run of the mill beers like Budweiser, Bud Lite, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Yuengling, etc. We are talking about some good, quality craft beers from breweries like Hi Wire Brewing, Southern Brewing Co., Grayton Beer Company, Prairie Artisan Ales, Riverwatch Brewery, Nantahala Brewing Co., and Jailhouse Brewing Company all for $4. The total number of craft breweries on hand was around twenty-four (24)… think you can try them all in two days? Remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated as well, no sense in having to go visit the medical tent due to heat exhaustion and/or dehydration.
Day 1 of the festival started off on a high note with The High Divers over on the main stage at (4:30 PM) but I was not able to make it to the venue until The Ramblin’ Fevers made their Saloon Stage performance (5:30 PM). Since the lineup for the day had a total of seven (7) artists performing in total, it is hard to pinpoint the ‘highlights’ because every single artist is worth mentioning that I managed to see. On slate for the rest of Day 1 was The Hog Slop String Band (THSSB), West King String Band, The Defibulators, Villain Family and Greensky Bluegrass. If one was to ask for a very, solid lineup full of bluegrass, Americana roots music then Friday was the day for you. My personal favorite performances included THSSB, The Defibulators, Villain Family, and of course Greensky Bluegrass.
Day 2 of the festival began for me at Porter Oaks’ performance over at the Saloon Stage (2:30 PM), I was bummed that I was not able to make it for either The Mason Jars (1:15 PM) or Harvest Thieves (1:45 PM). Saturday’s lineup had a total of fourteen (14) artists, by missing five (5) I was guaranteed to see the remaining nine (9) artists left to perform. Once again, the remaining artists were all exceptionally talented and we all had an amazing time bouncing between the different sets all day. If I had to really give some strong musical highlights from Day 2 of the BanjoBQue, I would be inclined to mention Cicada Rhythm, Kyshona Armstrong, Royal Johnson, Niles Foley, and Banditos. But of course, saving the best for last was the main headliner for this year’s event… The Avett Brothers (TAB).
In a fitting tribute to the recent, tragic loss of Soundgarden’s lead singer Chris Cornell, TAB began their set with a rendition of “Black Hole Sun”. As I stood taking photos in the photo area, I was in awe at what was transpiring before my own eyes with the version of this song by TAB. Besides this Soundgarden track, they would also cover a Chris Cornell solo song entitled, “Preaching the End of the World” and a Doc Watson cover of “Wanted Man”. And for the even more die-hard Avett Brother fans, they even brought out a really old track from their catalog named, “Laundry Room” from their 2009 LP, I and Love and You. They played a total of twenty (20) songs during this performance and of course it full of favorite hits from their catalog like “Kick Drum Heart”, “True Sadness”, and “All My Mistakes”.
Let us also congratulate a few of this year’s winners from the BanjoBQue Cook-off: Grand Champion- Elite BBQ Smokers for taking home the gold at this year’s BanjoBQue Music Festival, QMEISTERS for winning the Reserve Championship, and to The Smokehouse Mafia for taking home Third place. You can view more pictures from this incredible night online over on our official Facebook page (Day 1 & Day 2). We have a really busy few months upcoming and we are very excited for what’s in store for our audience. ‘Like’ our page and stay up to date in 2017 on all music related events/festivals such as; Shaky Knees: A retrospective, Umphrey’s McGee: Returns to Augusta, Bonnaroo, Electric Forest (First weekend), Sloss Music & Arts Festival, Sturgill Simpson: Live in Charlotte, Mo Pop Festival, My Morning Jacket with Gary Clark, Jr: Live in Charlotte, and Hulaween by following us on all social media formats: Concerthopper on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, you can follow my personal concert hopping on Facebook and Instagram. Remember don’t think about it, just buy the damn ticket! As always, hope to see you at a show or festival soon!