GOSHEN — The third annual Black Bear Americana Music Fest at the Goshen Fair Grounds was blessed with glorious autumn weather, an awesome array of over 45 bands and acoustic musicians featuring a variety of authentic rock, back porch blues, southern Cajun, deep woods bluegrass, folk and stompin' rockabilly.
Singer-songwriter Sarah King was the first performer on the main stage as Powerstation Events from Cheshire tuned all the equipment to perfection. King is described on the Black Bear website as “Powerful vocals in the vein of Adele and Amythyst Kiah blended with some Black Keys grooves you wouldn't hear on a truck commercial.”
Beth Murphy, a founder of the festival, said a festival creates an atmosphere a single concert can’t replicate.
“The difference between a concert and a live outdoor event under the stars in the sky is incomparable. That is why we offer camping grounds so people can get an affordable ‘Woodstock’ experience right here in Goshen.”
She also emphasized that the event was supported by more than 80 volunteers coming from all over Connecticut and many returning for the third time.
On Saturday at 5 p.m. on the main stage Joe Crookston presented 60 minutes of live music poetry. The last time he performed on that stage, the flyer warned that “Feelings of levitation are a common side effect.”
Local performers included Ian Campbell, co-owner, producer and performer in Black Bear, and Wires & Wood, offering an assortment of traditional and contemporary Bluegrass with a Newgrass Sound. The group consists of Matt Lauretano on the banjo, Ben Boylan on the upright bass, Brian White on guitar, Nick Zucchio and Will Doemland on mandolin.
Brother Other, a group that was only six months old when Paul Mauro and Matt Saccoman were included in the last Black Bear, played “heartfelt songs with lots of harmony.” Saccoman said the duo was set to play Black Bear last year and Brother Other released their debut album titled “You and I and Everything” in October of 2020.
Saccoman said he was disappointed when the festival had to be canceled last year.
“We were disappointed but kept working extremely hard to play as many shows as possible to promote the album,” he said. “A year later, we are absolutely thrilled to be back on the acoustic stage to share our songs and stories.”
Free-range children scampered about the open acreage of the site, entertaining themselves with pick-up games and the sheer joy of listening to music while running free.
The weekend ended on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with the Adam Ezra Group. As promised in the program, after the last band of the evening wrapped up there were “after hours shenanigans” such as bonfires, jam tents, drum circles and late-night vendors with food and souvenirs hanging out as well.