|The Dixie Bee-liners|
I arrived at Lazy A Campground on Friday afternoon, clad in my trusty Wellies, so the mud was no match for me. My Mini Cooper, however, sort of, kind of, got stuck--oops! Oh well, it's not like I was driving anywhere 'til Sunday, right? What really impressed me (other than how far the Mini actually made it) were my fellow festival-goers. I don't know if the mud was a bonding agent or maybe we were all just so overjoyed to see the sun, but everyone was incredibly nice and I couldn't even begin to count how many people offered to help me get the Mini out of the mud hole.
Camping calamities aside, this was definitely the best Pickin' yet! Since I camped all weekend this year, I had more time to do some exploring, so I spent some time chatting with the Backyard BBQ competitors. Once again, everyone was awesome, and some of their setups were quite creative and a few, like the Hill Billy Smokers, were even interactive! And how can you not love a team offering up free adult beverages, like the 55 Iron crew?
And the bands? Amazing as always. One of the things I love most about big music festivals are checking out bands I've never heard before. The Dixie Beeliners and The Hillbenders were two new discoveries for me, and they have already been added to my iPod repertoire. I was also excited to see the bands I knew would be great like Fitzmaurice, The Steeldrivers, and Shannon Wurst. Of course it wouldn't be Pickin' in the Panhandle without local favorites like Circa Blue and The Back Creek Valley Boys.
I've been to 3 of the 5 Pickin' in the Panhandle festivals, and each year I learn something new. In 2008, I made a day trip up from DC for Sunday afternoon and decided that the next time I was definitely camping out. I couldn't make the Charlie Daniel's craziness in 2009, but was back with tent in tow in 2010. My friends and I only camped on Saturday that year and missed out on the Friday night festivities. We planned then and there that we needed to do the full weekend in 2011 and set up shop on Friday. This year, I arrived at Lazy A around 5ish on Friday and quickly determined that next year I'm going even earlier--Noon is the target for 2012.
More pictures from Pickin' in the Panhandle 2011 after the break!