This post comes from Red Henry, who played at WillFest in Florida on April 4th, 5th, and 6th.
Had a great time at WillFest this weekend. The show has been held for many years now in honor of legendary Florida singer-songwriter Will McLean. Starting this year, the show has moved to the Withlacoochee Bluegrass festival park, and now everyone has plenty of room for camping and parking. Attendance seemed up, in spite of the change of location-- we had excellent crowds for every show.
Picked for several hours on Friday with a few friends, and got warmed up for the weekend's performances. Played my first set on Saturday to a full tent at the Cypress Stage, and all had a good time. My mandolin workshop that afternoon drew a lot of folks with excellent questions. There were folks with mandolin-experience levels from beginners on up, and I was flattered that a couple of the festival's performers showed up.
The rains came through that night, but on Sunday I hit the ground running with a morning set on the Main Stage. There was already a good crowd, and they warmed up as the set went along. I tried out a variety of songs and stories, numbers from Dale Crider, Gamble Rogers, Chubby Anthony, and Will McLean himself. The crowd got into it, and many sang along on "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder". (Well, it was Sunday.) One of the best folk sets I've ever played.
I also had the enjoyable honor of playing fiddle and mandolin on two sets with Florida folksinger Dale Crider, a man with more creativity and talent than I can describe.
The monsoon came back Sunday afternoon, but that didn't keep us from having a good time. Thanks to Margaret Longhill and her heroic crew of organizers and volunteers who produce this festival! Good job.