written by Connor Hayes
Though Magnolia Festival, a seminal southeastern Bluegrass festival, has come and gone, in it’s place, debuting in only a few weeks, comes it’s heir apparent in every meaning of the phrase. Anastasia Music Festival is kicking off its inaugural year at the St. Augustine Amphitheater, March 16th through the 18th, with a definitive survey of the entire progressive bluegrass community. With two sets each of the legendary Del McCoury, Jon Stickley Trio, and Del’s sons, the Travelin’ McCourys, the foundation of this house of bluegrass is established: feature performances by Sam Bush, Elephant Revival, Fruition, Applebutter Express, and the Jeff Austin Band are just the walls, siding, roof and shingles that bring this humdinger together. Not to mention a very special sit in, with Del joining David Grisman’s Bluegrass Experience for a Grateful Bluegrass Jam.
Though Magnolia fest had its own incredible lineups, this much talent, and in such company, is rarely seen outside of hallowed grounds like the Northwest String Summit. Of course, a festival concentrated this much on progressive bluegrass has a very specific, albeit loyal, following, the ticket price makes it easy for casual listeners to branch out, totaling just under $150 for 3 days of music, not to mention during prime weather season in Florida. Magfest may be forever gone, but Anastasia proves a more than worthy successor.