Besides a collection of bands and musicians as diverse and exciting as you’ll find anywhere playing on multiple stages outside and in, there were pop-up performances in the galleries and under the trees, film screenings, banjo workshops, instrument building for kids, great food and drink (moonshine slushies, anyone?), and so much more.
An array of bluegrass artists participated in the festival including The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Trampled by Turtles, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Infamous Stringdusters, Devil Makes Three, Spirit Family Reunion with Morgan O'Kane, and many others.
The Porchlight Sessions feature-length Bluegrass music documentary was directed by Anna Schwaber. The team behind the ground-breaking documentary criss-crossed the USA for the past several years making the film.
"The mission of The Porchlight Sessions is to build a platform for the community voice of Bluegrass in cinema and multimedia" said Schwaber. "From the casual picker to the die-hard fanatic, we hope to expose a mainstream audience to Bluegrass in a way that is both entertaining and informative."
A huge amount of effort and love has been put into the film by Anna and her team, and the movie involves an amazing list of artists including the UK's Mumford & Sons as well as many of the greats of Bluegrass across the generations. The film features interviews and performances with Dr. Ralph Stanley, Bobby Osborne, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Doc Watson, Jerry Douglas, Tim O'Brien, Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Alison Brown, Pete Wernick, Abigail Washburn, The Infamous Stringdusters, Crooked Still, Trampled By Turtles, Sara and Sean Watkins, Mumford & Sons and many more!
Simon Middleton, founder of Banjos Direct and Associate Producer of The Porchlight Sessions said: "The Porchlight Sessions is a beautiful, exciting and inspiring film. It's been crafted with care like a very fine handmade banjo: and it sounds as good as it looks. The filmmakers, led by Anna Schwaber, are doing something very special for the Bluegrass community as a whole."
Born out of the isolation of a ruggedly beautiful landscape, the Appalachian Mountains became a cultural crossroads where the influences of Jazz and Blues merged with the folk traditions of Scots-Irish immigrants to create an entirely unique American sound. Authentic and acoustic, Bluegrass culture has evolved and gone international, appealing to a desire in modern society to return to the roots and a way of life that is being lost.
The Porchlight Sessions is a finger pickin' and foot stompin' adventure through the evolution of the hillbilly sound as it became a genre following the legacy of the patriarch, Bill Monroe. Told through the collective voice of the originators of style to contemporary mainstream acts and campground pickers, the film marks the first time the community has come together to tell the bluegrass story.