Even under stormy skies, there is an undeniable thrill to performing for a Summer Motion crowd.
For young singer and guitarist Lyndzie Helms of Boyd County, the chance to perform for Ashland’s No. 1 festival happened with Hazel Holler at the Central Park bandstand as part of an afternoon of primarily bluegrass and gospel music.
“I sang ‘Can’t You See’ by the Marshall Tucker Band,” said Helms, who met members of the all-female bluegrass group from Carter County during the recent Fourth of July festivities in Louisa.
“It was mostly nerves up there. I’m pretty bold at home,” the young musician said, explaining she got a little nervous when she saw the crowd and people started taking photos.
Standing backstage, Summer Motion President Cade Mahan said he was looking forward to putting the finishing touches on this year’s event, with plans to take only a few hours off before tackling the task of looking ahead to next year.
“Day 5 ... you know, it’s raining again,” Mahan said with a good-natured laugh. “I’ve talked to a bunch of people and none of them ever recall this much rain. Before we would have downpours and then it would be nice. This year we’ve just been pounded with rain every day — 75 percent of the time. I think it is just a testament to how much people love this festival. That says bucketfuls for our community.”
Mahan credited the community’s spirit, as well as the dedication of volunteers and committee members, for making Summer Motion 2013 an excellent platform to build upon. The first-year president said he plans to spend an entire day reviewing “every single note” on Facebook and elsewhere to consider suggestions about everything from what bands to hire next year to ways to make the event an even bigger draw for the area.
“You gotta see what the people are saying and what the people want,” Mahan said. “The festival won’t continue another 25 years if you don’t listen to the community. I’ll have a whole evening of looking through Facebook comments.”
As president of the festival, Mahan said he can only take credit for offering a few ideas, “but it takes great people to execute those ideas.”
Scott Martin, Summer Motion’s longest-standing committee member as well as being the drummer for the band The Chase, which opened for Styx during this year’s festival at the Port of Ashland, said the nearly constant precipitation actually reinforced his understanding of Summer Motion’s value for local residents and their guests.
“It’s just a great festival. When you look out and see people under umbrellas just waiting for the band to come on ... it’s just a great festival,” Martin said.
The final day of Summer Motion 2013 concluded with performances by the Joe Freeman Band and a host of guests bands and artists, including Hammertowne, Hazel Holler, Don Rigsby, Mountain Station and Bluegrass Branchline.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2651.