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Railbird Music Festival Inaugural Run

Railbird Festival
August 10-11, 2019
Keeneland in Lexington, KY
Review & Photos by Tony Vasquez

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Photo by Tony Vasquez.

The historic Keeneland grounds in Lexington, Kentucky hosted the inaugural Railbird Music Festival. The festival did an excellent job showcasing Kentucky throughout the festival and with AC Entertainment curating the lineup, the weekend festival felt like it hit the ground running out the gate.

The festival featured two main stages, The Limestone, and The Elkhorn, on opposite ends of the grounds. The smaller Burl Stage which showcased several Lexington area bands was in between the two main stages. There were cooling areas, bourbon cocktails, a variety of food options, kids activities, and horse-petting.

Saturday’s lineup which featured some amazing women lead performances. Mavis Staples who recently turned 80 earlier this summer brought her soulful gospel vibes to the crowd by singing her message of love and compassion. Brandi Carlile owned the opening day with her set on the Limestone main stage. She delivered a fantastic version “The Joke” and excellent cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You.” She then joined the Old Crow Medicine Show for a few more songs over on the Elkhorn stage immediately following her performance including a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”

Photo by Tony Vasquez.
Photo by Tony Vasquez.
Photo by Tony Vasquez.
Photo by Tony Vasquez.

Sunday’s early highlight for me was the set by the Futurebirds on the Elkhorn stage. The highly energetic band performed with so much joy you could feel the positive energy coming off the stage and into the crowd. Later that afternoon over on the Limestone stage Gary Clark Jr. proceeded to play a blistering set to the already hot audience. Local songwriter and perform Tyler Childers drew a massive crowd over on the Elkhorn stage as he closed down the stage for the weekend. Childers performed material from his recently released Country Squire including “House Fire” and “Creeker.” Closing the festival over on the Limestone stage was the Irish songwriter Hozier. They were a fitting end to a fabulous weekend of music that featured genres of Americana, bluegrass, folk, soul, and rock and roll. We can’t wait for next year to see what Railbird does next summer.

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