I really hope you got a chance to see Oliver Mtukudzi when he came through. He was at Zanzibar before coming down to Floyd Fest. At Floyd, he put on a fantastic performance and schooled everyone else on how a roots music performance should be done. That said Oliver was looking mighty gaunt. I hope he's doing alright. His performance didn't show any problem: his voice was strong & everyone in the band dances with Oliver (excepting the drummer).
And on FloydFest, the Roanoke Times has a good blog covering this year's fest and where we saw the same shows I pretty much agree with their assessments.
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band was probably the biggest surprise of the weekend. "Big" being 3 people, the Reverend (guitar), his wife (washboard), & his brother (drums). He puts on a powerful show and musically he's doing to acoustic blues what the Reverend Horton Heat did to Rockabilly.
Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band did a mighty fine job keeping us up late Friday and Saturday night. Laura Reed & Deep Pocket snagged their horn section to keep us up the night before.
I caught Chatham County Line and Crooked Still the week before at the Birchmere. Both are superb examples of the young newgrass/acoustic music tradition. And I enjoyed them again at Floyd. Crooked Still is Uncle Earl adjacent as the lead singer, Aoife O'Donovan, is both bandmate (in Somethymes Why) & housemate with Kristin Andreassen. Chatham County Line is probably my favorite new band... I first saw them a few months ago opening for a favorite from last year's Floyd Fest (the Waybacks).
Floyd Fest has put together an Emerging Artists program for giving exposure to new & up-and-coming artists. There were some interesting names to watch in that bunch: William Walter & Co., Eli Cook, Junior League (who's local), and the Speckers. Some folk may remember the theatric fiddler John Specker from a Donna the Buffalo tour, he was doing a cool triple fiddle thing with his two daughters.
Dumpstafunk was the only Louisiana band in attendance. Unfortunately the lack of any Cajun or Zydeco from this years festival probably signals a trend. I suspect the CZ bands are viewed as an unsuccessful experiment. And since there is no longer a local champion, it has been dropped.