Early James Late Addition to Stellar HP40 Fall Bluegrass Festival September 1, 2021 13:18
Words by Caleb Calhoun: Get On The Bus
Photos by Tonya Wise Photography
The event, which is moving into its 4th year (after a Covid induced pause in 2020) has become a tradition for many southeastern musicians and music fans alike due to its low-key vibe and excellent booking began as a way to fill the void left by another longtime festival, Acoustic Cafe.
“I used to go to this festival called Acoustic Cafe,” Windley explains “and it had to come to an end for various reasons.” By that point, Windley had developed a relationship with AC’s event coordinator Steve Masterson.
“He is the whole reason I even got passionate about the music scene. I’ve been to bigger festivals before but I owe him everything as far as learning how to run a music festival.”
Windley had previous connections to HP40 from managing The Yellow Dandies and when Acoustic Cafe announced they would not be doing their Memorial Day festival anymore all of the pieces fell together to move the vibe to there.
Since that time the Spring and Fall Bluegrass and Crafts Festivals at HP40 have become another part of the changing seasons for many Alabamians, and not just because of what happens on stage. With HP40’s expansive grounds the real jams get going when the stage lights go off. These late night fire jams are such an integral part of the festival that Windley schedules the music to end early on Saturday evening just to make sure everyone has a chance to sit by a fire and jam.
Daniel Raine (Little Raine Band, Stepdads) who is playing Friday night with Stepdads explains it to me this way:
“For everybody that goes it’s really about the campfire jams and just hanging out with people. We have all night to just jam by the fire and cook food and that’s really what it’s all about.”
Notes for Attendees:
Saturday: Random Mountain Ramblers, Sam Pointer, Alan Tolbert and Julia Tamborello, The Yellow Dandies, Ross Hoppe, Rock Bottom String Band, Early James (Music starts at 12PM).