Statesville, NC

Do You Miss Live Music Festivals? Put On Your Own With Family and Friends

Kim McKinney

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John Shain with FJ VentrePhoto by Kim McKinney

Last year Bob and Lisa Barber had to cancel their Mountain Shadow Music Festival, an event that they have held annually since 2014. Like so many other things, COVID made holding the festival impossible. They made up for it by going all out for this year's event.

The Mountain Shadow Music Festival is a private event, attended by invitation only. Bob and Lisa bear the expenses of most items, including most food and beverages, and just ask friends to bring sides and desserts and appetizers and any special beverages they may want.

Held in Hiddenite, NC, in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the setting for the event has an innate beauty all of its own. Add music and it is indeed paradise.

And the music is exceptional. You can hear a taste of it here.

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Bob Barber and daughter Brie ZmaczynskiPhoto by Kim McKinney

When asked how he chooses musicians, Bob Barber said, "Mostly there are some that come every year because they're my friends. Like the Acoustic Citizens come pretty much every year, my friend Roger (Anderson) with his Service Station Sushi,and it just depends. I know it sounds egotistical but it's really more of what I like, the kind of stuff I like, but my friends like it, too."

The Barbers owned the Second Fret Coffeehouse, which showcased local talent for several years in downtown Statesville until its closure. Many of the performers at the festival played at the Second Fret back in the day.

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Mel Jones & His Bag O'BonesPhoto by Kim McKinney

Marie Reid started things off Friday evening. Marie describes her style as "acoustic Americana". Her soulful voice and beautiful smile light up the stage. Marte Yerkins accompanied her adding more depth to the enchanting performance.

Bob Barber himself performed a couple of times over the weekend, with both friend Rick Edminsten and his daughter Brie Zmaczynski.

Friday night featured a tribute to the late Rick Davis, who was supposed to perform at the festival this year but died of Covid before he had a chance. The CD he never got to see released, was played, accompanying a video tribute to Davis, a poignant moment at the festival.

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Marie ReidPhoto by Kim McKinney

The first night ended with headliner Mel Jones & His Bag O'Bones combining blues and bluegrass for a sound that gets toes tapping. Jones plays harmonica and sings, and his band seamlessly accompanied him, adding fun and personality in every direction. They are joy makers.

Saturday Barber and daughter Brie got this off to a rousing start. Charlotte's Jeff Brown brought his style of acoustic sounds, with festival first-timer Spencer Bloodworth following and making his presence known.

A little rain (OK, a downpour) started during the soulful bluesy sounds and humor of Service Station Sushi.

The set-up Barber had in place made sure that with a bit of ingenuity the tarps that had been set up to keep people out of the sun did a fantastic job of protecting them from the rain.

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A little rain handled with ingenuity and willing friendsPhoto by Kim McKinney

The melodious Acoustic Citizens followed, with a patter of rain accompanying part of their performance, too. Eva Frisch's voice is smooth and true. Their style of folk blends the Frisch's German roots with the sounds of their adopted Appalachian home.

John Shain and long time friend FJ Ventre play together in sync, as people who have known each other for a long time do. Shain is the 2019 International Blues Change winner for solo/duo. This duo often performs on separate projects, but their recent release Never Found A Way to Tame the Blues is a combined project. They put on a captivating performance of their lustrous bluesy folksy sound.

Sunday began with Andy Mason playing sweet sounds over breakfast.

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The asking Yacinthe BandPhoto by Kim McKinney

The Eli Yacinthe Band closed out the festival with a bang. The six members of the band, all incredibly talented musicians in their own right, blended great instrumentation with soulful vocals. Think a bit of a big band or jazz band, with a strong and soulful r&b sound. Many of the people at the festival have seen Yacinthe progress as a musician (Lisa Barber talked shared she was recruited to work at the church nursery because of his impending birth). He has certainly grown up as a musician and puts on a great show.

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Lisa Barber enjoys some time with Neal and Louise GrosePhoto by Kim McKinney

Any music festival is difficult to put on, but putting on a private one for your friends and family, especially one that would rival any public festival out there, is no small feat. Bob and Lisa Barber would say that everyone chips in, but their tremendous work and enthusiasm make this a great celebration of the love of music.

Live music was missed by many of us during COVID lockdowns and distancing, but this was a great way to bring the magic of a musical festival back to life. Sharing the experience with family and friends made for a special time in the foothills of Hiddenite.

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I love stories of people and places and enjoy telling these stories. I live in my hometown of Statesville, NC, in the Charlotte area, and love to show how lovely life is here. More is going on than may meet the eye. I also enjoy expanding throughout North Carolina to show the places and activities and people that make me believe life is fascinating and travel as much as I can, so write about that, too. I also have a passion for justice and a special interest in accessible healthcare, including treatment for drug and alcohol dependency. I am a woman of faith, joy, laughter, adventure, and live life to the full. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/kimmckinney719 or my blog KimberleyMcKinney.com or https://kimmckinney719.medium.com.

Statesville, NC
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