LAKE WYLIE — Back after a hiatus in 2012, Lake Wylie Music Fest will dock again Saturday with a new vibe and a new lineup.
“We’ll always be tweaking it,” said event organizer Jan Pendleton. “That’s the nature of the whole thing, to always make it fresh and new.”
The event began in 2010 with three summer dates each of the first two years. Last year organizers took a break to see how they could make the Fest better for 2013. This year, the Fest is just one day, though it’s extended to include more local acts in addition to regional performers. It’s still free and still only accessible by boat, at Boyds Cove in Steele Creek.
New this year, judges will travel boat to boat sampling recipes and picking the best decorated vessel for contests.
“We’re trying to promote the boaters having active involvement,” Pendleton said.
The largest Fest brought about 150 boats.
Depending on the weather, Pendletone said, “I can’t imagine it’s not going to be huge.”
Concord, N.C., band The Mighty RhythmBusters began playing on and off in Lake Wylie 20 years ago, at spots like The Knothole, Roadhouse and Fat Cats. The six-member band brings a feel-good sound, said member Keith Cash.
“It’s rockin’ boogy blues,” he said. “That can be anything from B.B. King to ZZ Top. It’s a high energy show, and people are going to have a good time.”
The band hasn’t performed at a Lake Wylie Music Fest. Cash said he isn’t sure what to expect, but the novelty of the setup is something that drew his group to the water.
“Setting up on the water, people will be able to enjoy their day,” he said. “They may be fishing. They may swim. It’s a unique setting.”
Chris Hertz of Demperio Hertz Music performed at the 2011 Fest.
“I enjoyed it,” he said. “You can’t get a lot of boats in there so there isn’t a mass of people, but they do a great job..”
He’s an architect, but lifelong music hobbyist who teams with a bass player and mandolin/guitar guy for shows when he can.
“We’ll do some folk rock,” Hertz said. “It has that feel, a little country, a little rock.”
Brandon Caldwell was a hit at the first Music Fest with his sunset fire act.
“Performing on a dock is very different for sure,” he said of his 2010 show. “You always have the potential for losing a prop in the water.”
The lineup from 3:30 p.m. on is similar to past Fest events with hourly performances from The Mighty RhythmBusters, Fountain Penn, Eddie Barnette Band, Josh Sanders, Red Dirt Revelators and Chubby Knuckles Band. New is an earlier start for more local acts.
Starting at 2 p.m. are performances by Tony Tbone, Demperio Hertz Music and Chris Shephard & Friends.
A couple dozen volunteers, mainly neighbors of the cove, put on the free Fest. Pendleton hopes her group is creating something unique for the lake, something edgy and fun that will show off the lake lifestyle she and others love.
“The people of Lake Wylie are lucky to have people like that,” Hertz said.