Wildwood Revival 2015: Full Gallery + Review

photo by Bob Jones

Joe Fletcher – photo by Bob Jones

Read our coverage of Wildwood Revival 2014

Contributing writer Holly Etchison and Rachel Hudson spent the 29th of August at Wildwood Revival, the “anti-festival” that has found a home just outside of Athens, GA on a small plantation in Watkinsville. Wildwood encompassed two days this year, however Holly & Rachel could only be onsite for one, but it was more than enough for them to share in the amazing experiences of the weekend. 

Aside from the Festival, organizers held a showcase at this year’s Newport Folk Festival that featured Joe Fletcher, John Moreland, and Margo Price, among others. 

Continue to check back to their page for updates on 2016 and other Wildwood Revival affiliated events. We’ll see you next year!

Tucked away in oak tree lined fields and farmlands, amidst the hum of cicadas and a plantation house Scarlett O’ Hara and her dad could’ve stood beside before the civil war, denizens from all over the southeast and even a Californian or two were gathered for the Wildwood Revival music festival, ready to kick up some cowboy dust and a little rock n roll glory.  Swinging by the event last weekend proved to be a time out of time in time, a time to remember the love of live music and enjoy an atmosphere that unfolded in ease and pleasantry.  Settled under an open wooden shelter whose stage glowed with tiny white lights reminiscent of a country dance, act after act rolled thru the afternoon. White teepees and hay bales dotted the horizon, folks hula hooped and chatted in circles, booths with tintype photography and vintage clothing were open to peruse; still, the music was the center and it spilled out onto yielding grasslands and happy listeners free to wander, chill or dance the evening away.

Strolling up in time to catch Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons, I might as well have been in downtown Nashville at one of the old time music joints and that was fine by me. Singer/songwriter Joe Fletcher and friends plowed thru numbers with rockabilly swing and stand up bass, and a sing along or two with a full crowd.  Joe stepped out alone for a few solo numbers, singing poetic stanzas in an appealing, plain spoken voice rich as many of the country greats.  A rousing cover of Dylan’s “Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)” especially caught my attention and had me stomping with the rest.

The atmosphere shifted as Oxford, Mississippi’s Water Liars took the stage with verve and pop swing, breaking into heavy, dissonant interludes that kept listeners guessing.  Garage surfer punk moments hedged into driving pop ballads with nice harmonies.  One slow tune had lead singer Justin wailing “I’ll wait for you” in a mesmerizing fashion, kneeling with his guitar.  The band made a name for themselves with those who knew them and those who didn’t as the sun made its way to the horizon.  Catching up with the bass player, GR, I quizzed him on some of their influences. He replied good naturedly: “People ask that a lot.  Mostly everything. On the road we mainly listen to NPR.” Fair enough.

The stage lights took prominence as daylight faded into twilight and glowed on the third act I caught, songstress Lindi Ortega, who looked like a rare bloom dancing across the wooden boards.  Sort of Dolly Parton meets Shara Worden of My brightest diamond, the raven haired Lindi’s voice rose above the tree tops in both light hearted country sway and heartbroken homilies.  A BeeGee’s cover was the swan song that saw me off into the night.

I made one last stop at the big house before leaving. Through a series of mishaps, I was this close in line to receiving some fancy buttermilk fried chicken reserved for VIP guests.  One wrong armband later, I just ate a few beets a la Scarlett and her radishes and headed for the door.  The festival had worked its magic though as bandmates, friends, and guests mingled on the porch of the white mansion, and everyone was caught up in the flow, the drumbeats echoing into the silent woods surrounding the sight.  Very worth its fare in environment, quality of music and general company, Wildwood, I decided, is one to catch next go round.

see a full gallery from photographer Nathan “Bob” Jones