There is some music history associated with the venue: the quaint old brick cellar door was originally the butcher shop and photos on the wall depict a band that was formed there early in the 20th century.
A pleasant walk along the driveway, flanked by acres of vines with undulating hills in the distance, led to a lawn area shaded by beautiful tall gums. A galvanised sound-shell had been erected and on the lawn was the rapt audience: some stretched out on picnic blankets, others reclined on low camping chairs and many stood in shade or casually mingled.
The music kept going day and night. Adelaide band Koral & The Goodbye Horses played gentle melodic rock ‘n’ roll, including their new song “Little Sister”, with other local acts in the line-up including “country honky-tonk” duo Hana & Jessie-Lee (formerly of The Sloe Ruin) and young blues and soul singer Ollie English.
The Audreys are a class act and it was great to see them performing some terrific songs from the album ’Til My Tears Roll Away before they take a break from touring and recording together. Taasha Coates’ crystal-clear voice echoed through the valley, while Tristan Goodall’s guitar work got the crowd on their feet.
Eilen Jewell brought quality country and western from the US, especially with the drinking song “High Shelf Booze”, while American Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, who was a member of the Drive-By Truckers, really livened things up with his classic country. Isbell had the audience up dancing and cheering, with a highlight being the popular “Decoration Day”.
When the sun went down, the weather cooled and people gradually donned beanies, coats and blankets as they began enjoying a heavier style of rock ’n’ roll played by New York rockers Endless Boogie, whose own description of their sound is “a meltdown of metal, psychedelic and classic rock”, and Adelaide’s own Bad//Dreems, an “outsider” rock band with distinctive powerful drumming, vibrant guitar-playing and lyrical sense of disconnection.
The Silver Raven was a great success for a new, intimate festival, offering an idyllic setting, a tremendous range of music and great food.
Alongside a long galvanised shed, the smell of an old-fashioned coal barbecue (provided by The Happy Motel) tantalised the tastebuds, the cellar door was open, and a couple from Leeds who migrated to the Barossa for the lifestyle it offers their children sold excellent coffee in a van.
A sense of calm permeated the grounds, with a novelty Kombi photo booth attracting attention, and toddlers and children running freely, exploring the open space and freedom afforded by the setting.
Although Silver Raven organisers didn’t get the numbers they were hoping for on Saturday, they intend to keep building it every year. Hopefully, it will become bigger and better in future years to be another drawcard for both South Australians and visitors to our state.
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