by Andrea Flohn
One of Pennsylvania’s most beloved bluegrass festivals, The Grateful Get Down will return this year to the Blain Picnic Grounds in Blain, PA on June 25th, 26th, & 27th.
Featured musical acts will include Cabinet, Kitchen Dwellers, The Englishtown Project, Willie Jack & The Northern Light, Serene Green, Dee Maple Band, Moonlicker, The Wormdogs, Wes Knorr, Electric Moose Knuckle, and more.
Many members of this year’s lineup are looking forward to playing the annual festival, which was moved around in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, author Andrea F. Flohn caught up with JP of Cabinet, members of Willie Jack and the Northern Lights, and Max Davies of the Kitchen Dwellers in separate interviews to briefly discuss their journeys back into summer festivals, and why everyone is so excited to Get Down.
LMNR: How did you guys fare at Spring Jam with all of the rain?
JP: Outdoor events in Pennsylvania in the Spring are always a gamble. So, when we played Spring Jam at the end of May and it was 48 degrees and rainy, I wasn’t too surprised. Honestly, I’m just happy it wasn’t snow!
LMNR: Was Del’s hair affected by the wet conditions?
JP: From what I understand, Del’s hair is completely immune to any weather he might come across. I’ve heard word that it’s fire-proof as well…
LMNR: Was there anything that surprised you about playing one of your first festivals of the year?
JP: Not really. Just a whole lot of happy smiling faces!
LMNR: What are you looking forward to about playing the Get Down in a few weeks?
JP: The Get Down is going to be such a blast! We’ve been working with Ben Erhsam for many years now. He does a great job recruiting fun, high energy bands for his events and we’re just happy to be teaming up with him for this one! But also, I’m really excited to see our buds The Kitchen Dwellers.
LMNR: When’s the last time you saw the guys from Kitchen Dwellers?
JP: It’s been a while for sure… Way too long actually. But I spoke with Torrin (Banjo Player Extraordinaire) a few days ago on the phone. We both agreed that it’s time to get the Kitchen Cabinet back together!
Miss Flohn also caught up with the guys from Willie Jack & The Northern Light this past week to discuss their recent appearance at the Spring Jam festival, the progression of live music post-COVID, and why they can’t wait to play the Grateful Get Down. Guitarist and vocalist, Joe Raup, remarked that “Spring Jam was something to look forward to coming out of the long winter pandemic lockdown,” while bassist Mark Sosnoski said, “Spring Jam went so well, you could tell by the vibe in the air that people were so happy to be seeing live music.”
As far as progress in live music goes, the members of Willlie Jack all seem to agree that things are quickly returning to the way they used to be. Lead guitarist, Jeff Oshetski mentioned that he’s just “grateful to be working.” When we asked the band about playing the Grateful Get Down this year, they seemed ecstatic in their responses. Cody Zahoroiko on saxophone and keys said, “I’m excited to see Serene Green and Cabinet. Both of those bands are excellent. But most of all I’m psyched to get out there and play another one with Willie Jack!” And drummer, Joe Ciarvella mentioned Willie Jack’s long history with several bands on the lineup, saying, “Anything is possible!”
Max Davies of the Kitchen Dwellers also spoke with Miss Flohn about the band’s return to live music, their reunion with the guys from Cabinet, and why they are stoked to play the Grateful Get Down.
LMNR: You guys did a run at The Cervantes Ballroom in Denver this April. Was this the first time you felt like live music was returning to some kind of normalcy?
MD: It was so good to see people out, and it did kind of feel like the beginning of shows starting to come back. We have done lots of different things the past year that revolved around streaming and doing things online but playing shows to a real live audience was great. We were so excited to be playing and you could feel the energy of the people at the shows that probably hadn’t seen live music in a while. We’re all so glad to be out there playing again.
LMNR: With that being said, who are you guys looking forward to sharing a stage with again?
MD: There are almost too many to count. There are so many people we’ve been missing, and Cabinet is most certainly one of them. We’ve known them for quite some time now and while we kept things close to home the past year, we weren’t able to see any of our friends and bands that are outside of our region. We couldn’t be more excited to see the Cabinet guys and there will most certainly need to be some collaboration.
LMNR: When’s the last time you saw anyone from Cabinet?
MD: We did a whole tour with Pappy and JP (Owl and Crow) and I want to say that was the last time we saw anyone from Cabinet. I have their poster hanging on my wall. It was great, they came up and played with us every night. They are truly musical brothers and I hope they have forgiven me for a little prank we pulled on one of our last nights.
LMNR: What are you looking forward to about playing the Grateful Get Down?
MD: We can’t wait to see our PA musical family and also be able to see live music. I forgot how much I’ve missed seeing all of our friend’s bands play and the camaraderie between everyone. Can’t wait for it all!
The Blain Picnic Grounds, a gorgeous shaded campground along Sherman Creek, will offer its guests swimming holes and a playground throughout the festival weekend. Porta potties, wash stations, and sanitizer will be on site to maintain the health of all guests.
Gates will open at noon on Friday, June 25th and close at noon on Sunday, June 27th.
Before entering the grounds, guests must be willing to wear a face covering and have their temperature taken. Pets are allowed with certain restrictions, but the venue prefers that they be left at home if possible.
This event is rain or shine, BYOB.
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