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“I really feel like everything was done right,” said folk newcomer Amber Rubarth who is based in New York and played songs from her just released “A Common Case of Disappearing” that features duets with Jason Reeves and Jason Mraz. “One of the biggest things that influences me is other bands. I don’t really get a lot of chances to hear other bands, so this was really powerful.”
She wasn’t alone. Headliner Brandi Carlile added that she spent the entire day out of her bus, visiting with fans and industry friends, listening to music and soaking up the feel-good vibe.
Just before she took the main stage, opening with a fiery version of “Raise Hell,” the opening track off her latest album “Bear Creek,” she talked about her upcoming set.
“Every singer, every interpreter whether they have written words or not, when they’re singing the words, they need to think about the words,” said Carlile of the zone she goes into during performances. “Don’t think about the audience, don’t think about that guy dancing, think about the words. When you’re done singing, then think about the audience. That way, I’m communicating, I’m receiving, I’m communicating, I’m receiving. You have to be careful that you are present and be aware or you can create a vortex of misunderstanding.”
Fair enough. But there was clearly only a groovy, laid-back state of mind at this three-day festival that carried on late into Sunday night with an array of after parties.
Even on this humid summer weekend, the fans didn’t stop dancing and cheering as they ran from stage to stage to see the various musicians.
When the Punch Brothers, all dressed in dapper suits despite the heat, got onto the main stage, the cheers could be heard from the other side of the festival.
“Wow, I like this,” said mandolinist extraordinaire Chris Thile grinning at the crowd. Although the mid day sun nudged thermometers passed the 100-degree mark, Thile and his band mates seemed to soak up energy from the crowd.
And the enthusiasm wasn’t contained to the main stage either. Leftover Salmon, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year touring behind its latest album “Aquatic Hitchhiker,” could hardly contain their exuberance as they played while sitting on the porch of the Virginia Folklife Workshop Porch late Friday afternoon. Although fans were solidly packed into the somewhat contained area between the house and other buildings, the crowd made room for some of the audience members to dance wildly about, twirling and kicking.
“You know, we felt right at home at FloydFest,” said Vince Herman, a founding member of Leftover Salmon. “We play a lot of shows but that – that was just one great time.”