High Water Festival day one in a word? Impressive.

Organizers should pat themselves on the back, because we loved everything about it. The site is spacious, and we were conscious yesterday that the crowd wasn’t packed in like sardines. It’s comfortable. Riverfront Park is also stunning — the river filled with boats, which makes for a stunning view; Spanish moss strategically and naturally placed everywhere; and pretty orbs and white lights beautifully lit up the park when the sun went down.

And when the sun went down? So did the temperature. A perfect, breezy 70-something degrees, a welcomed respite from the 80-something scorcher earlier.

The crowd was unlike any festival crowd we’d seen before, as if Shovels & Rope curated a show with the audience they envisioned in mind. It’s a festival for folks interested in listening to music — a novel notion for festivals these days. And it’s very family friendly — kids played on the onsite playground when they weren’t just hanging out on blankets, which were spread out everywhere.

As for the performances? Not a single dud: from the raw soul of Charles Bradley to the the rockabilly from JD McPherson’s to the outstanding collab between Lucius and Shovels & Rope on several songs, including Elvis Costello’s “Peace, Love, and Understanding” — a track they also worked on together on ShoRo’s Busted Jukebox.

[image-10]The highlight for us was of course the Shrimp Record Family Band, which showcased what Cary Ann Hearst a called “a sliver” of the talent that can be found in the Charleston music scene. The family band included Joel Hamilton and Owen Beverly performing as the InLaws, Bill Carson, PUNKS&SNAKES songs from Jack Burg and company, Michael Trent, Hearst, Ron Wiltrout, and Andy Dixon.




[image-19]Here’s to more of where that came from today. In the meantime, check out High Water’s day-one video recap here and photos from Jonathan Stout.