Sometimes you just need to throw a party.
That’s pretty much how the idea for the first-of-its-kind Old Farmers Ball, the newest music event coming to the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain tomorrow, started. Local bluegrass/folk/country band Cabinet is presenting the one-day festival, and, for them, it’s about time.
“I think the whole band in general, well, we’ve been waiting to throw a big party for everybody, you know?” said Cabinet’s banjo player and vocalist Pappy Biondo. “We’ve been together for almost seven years and have always talked about throwing our own little shindig.”
After playing at last year’s Peach Music Festival, Biondo said, they started talking to the folks at Live Nation, and the idea snowballed from there. Now he and bandmates J.P. Biondo (mandolin, vocals), Mickey Coviello (acoustic guitar, vocals), Dylan Skursky (electric bass, double bass), Todd Kopec (fiddle, vocals), and Jami Novak (drums, percussion) are putting on a day’s worth of plenty not only to hear but see for the local community.
The title of the event is a play off one of Cabinet’s songs that was written by Biondo, “The Old Farmer’s Mill.”
In addition to the main venues that will contain musical acts (Main Stage, VIP Stage and Marley’s Mission Kids Stage), plenty of vendors will be strewn about, including local farms.
“We know that farmers’ markets are a big part of this area, so we wanted to make sure that was an element to the festival,” Biondo said.
The day is filled with musical acts that have shared the stage with Cabinet at one time or another.
Cornucopia of surprise
One of the biggest surprises of the Old Farmers Ball is the reunion of And The Moneynotes, the local “vaudevillian country bluegrass pop” act.
The group — Mitch Williams (guitar, vocals), Jeff “Setty” Hopkins (drums), Brian Craig (washboard, percussion, mandolin), Mike Quinn (guitar, vocals), Pat Finnerty (bass, vocals) and Roy Williams (piano, mandolin, guitar, vocals) — formed in 2006 and released the EPs “This Year We Hunt” and “On The Town, On The Vine” along with the full-length “New Cornucopia!” between 2007 and 2009 and eventually split in 2010.
It has only played a few times since its last official show. Quinn, who now lives in California, said he will fly in several days ahead and “go to boot camp” to prepare for the big reunion, which was spawned when Moneynotes manager Bill Orner, who also manages Cabinet and organized the Old Farmers Ball, asked them to come out of retirement.
“Hopefully it’s not something that’s just a shell of what (fans) remember but actually what they remember. Whenever you do a one-off kind of thing like this, it’s such a loaded 45-minute set; you’re putting all this expectation into 45 minutes,” Quinn said.
Organic food, music
Of course, the farmer’s market adds a special tint to the music festival. Among the farmers participating Saturday is Don Hess, who runs Dancing Hen Farm in Stillwater, a farm considered a CSA entity, or Community Supported Agriculture.
CSA is a connection between a nearby farmer and the people who eat the food the farm produces, a “mutual commitment,” Hess said. Farmers ask regular customers to pay a share of the farm’s annual expenses in exchange for a weekly share of produce.
“This will be our first time selling our food at a music festival,” Hess said. “We are fans of the local music scene and really enjoy Cabinet’s brand of music. We’ve seen many of the other bands at local venues.”
And it’s not just the music that’s bringing Dancing Hen to the Ball.
“With the Old Farmer’s Ball, we’re looking forward to enjoying the community atmosphere with many like-minded people while spreading the word about local organic agriculture,” Hess said.