Fans soak it all in at wet and wild Big Barrel Festival

DOVER — At Big Barrel Country Music Festival, the uniform Saturday was a rain poncho.

To help navigate the mud on the grounds, organizers had set up bridges and filled puddles in with sand.

After going to Firefly Music Festival last weekend, Amy Hampton, who lives in Dover, said Big Barrel felt more like “a country fair.”

“I like the family feel,” Ms. Hampton said. She brought her 4-year-old daughter to Big Barrel, who was jubilantly splashing in puddles near the entrance.

The rain definitely didn’t bring the family down.

“This is her favorite thing to do,” Ms. Hampton said, laughing at her daughter.

“It’s interesting to come in on the ground floor of the festival,” she said.

Myrial Uhde and Brici Caers, from Smyrna, also attended Firefly and they agreed Big Barrel was a change — “different crowds, different music,” Ms. Caers said.

Soulful singer-songwriter Sam Lewis kicked off the music at the covered Wildwood Stage on Saturday, where people chatted and swayed beneath the pavilion.

Unlike Firefly, which was held on the same grounds June 18-21, the crowds were smaller and many families came out to enjoy the music.

Big Barrel offered a variety of kid-friendly activities.

Some children made their way out onto the dance floor at the Harvest Moon Dance Hall, where experts and amateurs alike practiced turning and stepping to the music.

At The Stable, a petting zoo, big-eyed goats snuggled together under a tent. Piglets nibbled treats from visitors’ hands.

Nearby at The Patch, a covered family area with games and activities, children played with toy horseshoes sets or colored pictures.

That’s where Jason and D’lorah Sutfin were sitting on Saturday afternoon.

They brought their children, ages 6, 9, 12 and 14 to the festival with them, where they have been camping since Thursday.

“Having the kids zone here to get away…is nice,” Mr. Sutfin said.

As for the rain, he and his daughter embraced it and danced on picnic tables.

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