For nine seasons now, the Groovefest American Music Festival has been dedicated to providing festivalgoers with sounds that personify the roots of American music, and this year was no different. From Folk to country, and blues to bluegrass, the variety of music available to tantalize and please was abundant.
The five days of music began with a kick-off to this season’s Campfire in the Canyons concert series, a monthly fundraiser produced every summer to help the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, and wound down with Sunday’s Gospel Hour performances.
Peggy Green, Groovefest volunteer, said if it wasn’t for Sunday’s Gospel Hour shows letting her down easy, the climax of the weekend’s events would be too much to bear.
“By Saturday I had already been crying all day long,” Green said. “I think that’s one of the cool parts about having the gospel Sunday stuff, (because) if I could think about walking away Saturday night and not having that to come back to (the festival) on Sunday, I couldn’t have handled it.”
The audience, as diverse as the performers, seemed to fill the park to capacity by the end of both Friday and Saturday, leaving many longing for just one more day of fun. The ocean of music lovers poured into The Grind Coffee House Sunday afternoon and afterwards filled the room at Mike’s Tavern once again.
Mike Wilson, owner of Mike’s Tavern, said he thought the weekend was a blast, but was happy to see it ending so he could finally get some sleep.
“Tim always does such a good job putting this stuff together,” Wilson said. “But it sure is nice when it’s over.”
Though Groovefest American Music Festival is a community event, it has begun to attract national attention, and was even listed in the Las Vegas event guide’s annual events overview.
Byron Linford, Cedar City events coordinator, said the festival is a fantastic event that draws in more than $1.5 million a year to help stimulate the local economy. He said Groovefest’s success has been evident from “day one,” and he is glad it has survived the struggling economy.
Linford said the event’s timing during the end of June offers visitors who have come for other events an opportunity to stay in town and linger a bit longer, helping to stimulate Cedar City’s economy in the process.
The Cedar City Arts Festival’s booths offered Groovefest visitors a glimpse of the community of artists that reside within its domain, selling a wide variety of items from handmade cheeses to sculpted clay in the style of the ancient Anasazi people.
Though several vendors said they didn’t fare to well, many vendors said the trip was well worth all the work it took to have their booth at such a fantastic event and said they plan on coming back next year.
Next year will be the Groovefest American Music Festival’s 10th anniversary and Tim Cretsinger, Groovefest co-founder, said it is going to be a show that will commemorate the culmination of a decade of music rooted in the sounds of America’s not-so-distant past.
For more information go to www.GroovefestUtah.com or like their group page on Facebook.