|Dr. Bacon is a Boone-based band that will perform|
at Shakori Hills this Spring (April 17-20)
Those that are familiar with the festival have grown quite fond of these moments, every spring and fall there's one band that gathers a huge buzz throughout the 75-acre farm and it seems like the Fall's buzz came a bit late into the weekend. At every Shakori there's a band contest, usually kicking things off on Saturday, it's filled with amateur artists from across the region vying for a primetime slot on the Sunday schedule. Ranging from grizzled old men slaying on the fiddle to young children playing out for the first time, you're guaranteed to get a little bit of everything as you plop down on your blanket.
But for those that attended the contest last fall seemed to walk away with one band stuck firmly in their mind, Dr. Bacon. The farcical name gives little indication of the serious jams brought about by this Boone-based outfit. Dr. Bacon first found themselves in the band competition last Spring, placing second amidst an impressive array of musicians. But that finish fueled the spark for this self described Appalachian soul-grass crew to buckle down and "push [themselves] to the next level."
"Winning the competition in the fall was pretty surreal and didn't fully sink in until the show the next Sunday afternoon," the band claims, it even led to invitations to other festivals around the area. That "magical Shakori buzz" as they put it can lead to some pretty exciting opportunities. Much like getting thrust into a late night set on the opening night of this Spring's festival. When I heard rumblings of Dr. Bacon last year it was a fairly continuous string of applause, "they're nuts" they said, "it's like a jammy Holy Ghost Tent Revival" said others, it was a non-stop flow of positive reviews that led me to delving deeper into this band once this Spring's lineup was released. Surely enough I was transfixed, Dr. Bacon sheds the expectations you'd have from a Boone-based band and serves up an amalgamation of funk, soul and bluegrass to make for a raucous live show.
"Traditional bluegrass is a constant influence on our approach," they sate "but we aren’t interested in imitating anything that has been done before in the genre." They describe their sound as "undeniably Appalachian, but not strictly bluegrass," somewhere in between "James Brown and The Punch Brothers." They're a band that seems to be steeped in Shakori tradition, they're largely inclusive while producing a sound that's all their own, opening up the realms for listeners from all walks of life to stumble upon their late-night Thursday set and have a guaranteed hell of a time. But surprisingly enough, the band's excitement doesn't just stem from their first big-time Shakori set, but instead from the undeniable sense of community.
"We definitely feel at home at Shakori, it is an indescribably good feeling to simply perform in front of people who are actively engaged and appreciate our music." And it's not just the crowds that Dr. Bacon is excited for, it's the people. The festivalgoers that roam around the campsites spreading positivity, high-fiving strangers and building the strong community all keep people hooked on this diverse festival. That's why Dr. Bacon is just as excited for their fireside jams as they are for their Thursday night Cabaret Tent set. the jams that happen out in the woods at the campsites are some of the best music of the festival.
"There aren't many other festivals where as a musician you can have your mind blown by an amazing on-stage artist, get inspired, run out into the woods, find an ad-hoc jam, and create something new and remarkable."
So whether you're kicking off your festival with their set at that Cabaret Tent, or if you stumble upon the soul-grass crew while meandering through the dimly lit woods, they're sure to get your feet movin' and your heart pumping with some wildly inventive tunes.
Dr. Bacon performs at the Cabaret Tent on Thursday night at 10:00 pm
Recommended Artists: Big Something, Bulltime Strutters, Big Fat Gap, Preston Frank, Clockwork Kids, Indigo Girls