Music festivals are back!  With the live entertainment world reopening, there’s no shortage of options to start making up for lost time.  However, we’re all still trying to find that balance between keeping ourselves safe and “getting back to normal.”

Ready to get the Americana party started, but mindful of the apprehension that we all have, Byrd’s Creek Music Festival stuck a perfect balance for this 2021 festival season.  A unique lineup of rising and established talent, capped ticket sales to keep everyone safe, and a neighborly festival scene that welcomed us out of our sheltered lives.

Mother Church Pew first made the short trip from Nashville to Crossville, Tennessee for the Byrd’s Creek Music Festival in 2018.  Enticed by an expanded roster of bluegrass, Appalachian folk, and honky-tonk country artists, we were excited to make it our first stop of the year.  While the attendance was intentionally small, the festival itself has shown tremendous growth.  There are now two stages allowing for even more music.

Arriving at the festival grounds in early evening, we did an expedited campsite setup to get to the music ASAP.

Anna Kline

Fortunately, we arrived in Byrd’s Creek’s “music village” just in time to watch Anna Kline.  A vet of the roots music scene, many of you will know Kline from her most recent project, Swift Silver.  The air was full of swampy blues as she belted out, “Come On Home To Yourself,” somehow packing even more emotion into it than the album version.  Her set also included some surprises by way of an unreleased song dedicated to her father, a Townes Van Zandt cover, and a guest appearance from Linda Jean Stokely of The Local Honeys.  The set was the perfect mood-setter for a weekend of great music.

Anna Kline At Byrd's Creek Music Festival (3)
Anna Kline 2021

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Mose Wilson

Later, on the same stage, Byrd’s Creek welcomed Nashville’s Mose Wilson.  Brining a touch of Music City’s honky-tonk life to Crossville, Wilson played a toe-tapping mix of originals like his, “Tennessee Rag,” and covers like a string-bending jam on Del McCoury’s, “Rain & Snow.” As the final glow of the sun finally set, Wilson’s playing even inspired some dancing in front of the stage.

Mose Wilson at Byrd's Creek Music Festival (2)
Mose Wilson at Byrd's Creek Music Festival

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John R. Miller & the Engine Lights

After a short walk to the main stage, we found earnest Americana artist John R. Miller had pulled the full festival crowd from the campgrounds to hear his set.  Only a few songs in, it was already clear why Miller counts Tyler Childers among his fanbase.  Honest storytelling lyrics met country-tinged roots influences on songs such as, “Shenandoah Shakedown,” as the Byrd’s Creek crowd nodded along in enjoyment. 

John R. Miller at Byrd's Creek Music Festival

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The Fumblebuckers

With late-night upon us and a touch of exhaustion setting in, I was worried that it would already be an end to the first night back at a music festival.  However, Cookeville’s The Fumblebuckers always play with the energy of a double cup of coffee.  Feeling refreshed, I joined the Byrd Creek crowd enjoying the stand-up bass thumping, banjo picking, guitar bluegrass jam.  A band that doesn’t need an excuse to bring the musical party, they fed off the crowd’s energy, picking into the early hours of the next day.

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End of Day 1 of Byrd’s Creek Music Festival 2021

Resisting the urge to stay up even later, it was time to recharge for a packed schedule of music coming up on second day of the Byrd’s Creek Music Festival.  During the short walk back to the campsite, there was only way to summarize the day: thank goodness live music is back!

Watch for our coverage of Day 2 of Byrd’s Creek coming soon!

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