ROMP‘s final day brought with it a welcome respite from all of the crummy weather. The Kentucky Bluegrass AllStars kicked off the morning lineup. It’s always amazing to see how talented these kids are and how excited they are to play in front of the ROMP crowd. There had been a lot of hype for gifted musician Annabelle Watts, a 13-year-old from just outside of Owensboro. She didn’t disappoint. Cheered on by close friends and other fans, Annabelle alternated between playing fiddle and guitar, and singing both original songs and covers during her set. It’s always exciting to see young talent, especially at a music festival.
A little later, while waiting for my camera and phone batteries to charge, I saw performances from a few bands who have been to ROMP several times. I interviewed Phoebe Hunt prior to the festival for Do502, so I enjoyed watching her play and meeting her after she invited the crowd to “ROMP the night away.” Another favorite: 10 String Symphony. The duo, often dueling with 5-string fiddles, captivated the audience, as they have the past few years that they’ve attended the festival. The guys from both The Lonely Heartstring Band and The Brotet kept up the momentum through the afternoon as fans started pouring in for the night’s headliners.
I’ve been a part of the ROMP Street Team the last few years, promoting the festival around Louisville. Every year, there has been talk about trying to get the famed John Prine to headline, and this year, fans were rewarded. While he may not be able to play with the same lively spunk he had back in his prime, Prine’s wit and expertise are still very much apparent. He played many crowd favorites, including “Spanish Pipedream” and “Paradise.” Of course, it wouldn’t be an evening with John Prine without an encore of “Angel from Montgomery,” during which he received a standing ovation from everyone in the park.
While most people with day passes headed out after Prine’s performance, the campers stuck around to dance along while Leftover Salmon jammed on the main stage. For the after-party, ROMP invited the west-coast guys of The Brothers Comatose and Illinois-based Old Salt Union to Pioneer Village. Complete with a blow-up alligator, The Brothers Comatose kept the party going into the late night hours. I actually had a chance to talk with these guys before their set (our first official in-person interview!), which you can check out here.
ROMP #4 for me is officially in the books. I feel lucky to have been able to attend this sensational festival year after year, and look forward to whatever is to come.