Last August, the Master Musicians Festival board made the fateful decision to pursue a big-name headlining act this year. It’s fitting then that August and everything after led to the alt-rock icons Counting Crows (yes, they of the album “August and Everything After”) appearing on the MMF stage.
And it paid off. This year’s festival — held this past weekend at Somerset Community College — more or less equaled the crowd that came in 2013 to hear country legend Willie Nelson.
Tiffany Bourne, president of the MMF board, said about 6,000 individuals came through the gates over the course of the two-day outdoor concert.
“Everything went really well,” she said. “There were a lot of compliments. ... All the bands, every single one was so complimentary about how they were treated. Even the undercard acts, like the Little Ship, even Fifth on the Floor and Coralee and the Townies, they said we made them feel like they were Counting Crows.”
Of course, the members of Counting Crows themselves — a hit band in heavy MTV rotation since the early 1990s known for hits like “Mr. Jones” and “Accidentally in Love” — enjoyed themselves at MMF too.
“Counting Crows were saying how we were on top of everything, how everyone was so nice,” said Bourne. “(Lead singer Adam Duritz) was really laid back. Before I even got backstage, he’d taken pictures with half our staff, which was very nice.”
Maybe more importantly, Lindsey Myers, a booking agent for Creative Artist Agency, which reps Counting Crows and a host of other major music industry acts that MMF would love to have on the line-up one day, walked away with a positive impression as well, which could have an impact on how MMF schedules in the future
“She thought it was so nice,” said Bourne, “a great music festival that had a laid-back, hometown feel.”