|Mates of State at All Points West in 2008 (one of the first times we saw them).|
Other than the food, what I look forward to most at the Daffodil Festival is the music. We've seen the likes of Mark Mulcahy and the Animals, and we've also seen tons of great local acts. This year, one of Merry Picnic's favorite bands, Mates of State, is taking the Jeff Crooms Welcome Stage right before the fireworks on Saturday night and playing into the fireworks. Before that, we're getting M.T. Bearington and The Guru, two local bands we've seen play often in the area. Throughout the weekend, we'll also see some Daffodil Festival regulars like Frank Critelli and The Bird 'n Boys with Ellen Sackman.
It's actually no coincidence that we've seen a lot of the bands playing this weekend before. I spoke with Robbie DeRosa, who has been the music coordinator for the Daffodil Festival for the past 13 years, and he said that when he's scouting out bands to play the festival, he looks at what bands play around a lot because they're sure to have a local following and bring in a crowd. Also the host of a local music show, DeRosa listens to a lot of local music and chooses local bands that put out great records. He starts with a list of over 100 bands and has to narrow it down.
This year, there are 37 bands playing the festival - more than ever before. The music used to start at 11 a.m. each day, but because the gate opens at 10 a.m., there will be bands playing at the very start of the festival to get people going as soon as they step off the shuttle bus.
"I'm really thrilled," DeRosa said about the lineup. "Last year at the end of Sunday, I said I should quit. I didn't think I could do better." (And yet, this year, he did.)
DeRosa said that when he plans the lineup each year, he starts with the fireworks show. This year, there will be two bands playing - Barefoot Truth in the Bandshell, and Mates of State, as mentioned before.
"This year they have two fabulous acts to choose from," DeRosa said, adding that the bands will start before the fireworks and play at least a few songs into the fireworks. "It's going to be very dynamic."
When we at Merry Picnic heard that Mates of State were playing during the fireworks, we couldn't think of a better fit because of their high-energy synth-infused, fireworks-perfect music. DeRosa said that he's wanted Mates of State to play the festival for a few years, but it never worked out because of scheduling conflicts until now. He said the Daffodil Festival is "a perfect in-state festival for them" because they live in state and can bring their kids.
Here's the lineup for each day:
Don't forget one of the other best parts of the festival (as the above poster mentions) - there's free parking, free shuttle to the festival, and free admission!