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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pickathon Adds Dr. Dog and Fruit Bats to Lineup; Eric Johnson Answers Questions About Fest

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 11:00 AM

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This summer's Pickathon festival already has an impressive lineup, but it keeps on growing, and they've just announced the addition of some exciting names to the roster:
Dr. Dog
Punch Brothers
Fruit Bats
Little Wings
Blind Boy Paxton
Cardboard Songsters
The best weekend of the summer just got better. This is in addition to Bonnie Prince Billy, Heartless Bastards, Langhorne Slim, and a lot more (click the jump to see a poster with the complete lineup). Remember, Pickathon is August 6-8 at Pendarvis Farm; tickets here.

Fruit Bats are playing Pickathon for the first time, and Eric Johnson took some time to answer some of our questions about the fest. He told us that he is going to dust off a special pair of pants just for the fest. He also threatened to go barefoot the whole time. Check it out:

Eric, what made Fruit Bats decide to be a part of Pickathon this year? What have you heard about the festival?
ERIC JOHNSON: I've heard nothing but good things, really. Our pals Vetiver played it last year and raved and I was pretty jealous. I was then extra excited this year when we got invited. The idea of Pickathon (or from what I've gleaned, at least) is that its still drawing from the template of the old-style folk festival where the audience is as much a part of things as the performers. I think festivals are fun, but sometimes there's the vibe of the "RED BULL ROCKIN' SUMMER JAM!" With skydivers and beer banners and bullshit. That's not so fun. I like the idea of a festival that includes rock bands but runs on the model of an Appalachian fiddle summit... which I imagine Pickathon to be like. Maybe I'm wrong? It's not sponsored by an energy drink, right?

What has Fruit Bats' experience been with other festivals in the past?
Fruit Bats has been around forever, but we're kind of new when it comes to festivals, although we're doing a handful this summer. We did Sasquatch years ago and played at like noon to nobody but the clear blue sky. Earlier this spring we played Harvest of Hope, which is a very cool, rather low-key fest in Florida. And it's for charity. It was a windy day so we looked like Guns N' Roses in the "Paradise City" video with our flowing locks blowing around. At least in my mind we did. It was very fun, and for a good cause, so again, we didn't have to experience the cheese factor of youth-culture target marketing and whatnot. I've played all the biggies with the Shins, but that's a whole different ball of wax.

Do you think Fruit Bats might go all rustic, do more acoustic stuff than usual, or anything like that? Anything special in store?
Well, I believe we play multiple sets, so I did have it in mind do throw some curve balls. But I don't have anything cooked up quite yet. I'm also going to teach a workshop, which I'm stoked about. I got my start as a folk-school music teacher so I'm ready to dust off my teacher pants and start pontificating. I'm not too sure if I'll do some kind of songwriting workshop—I'd rather do this thing that I used to call "the Banjo Escape Pod." Which is basically a workshop that teaches you everything you need to know about clawhammer style banjo in 1.5 hours. I might not wear shoes for the whole weekend, either.

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