Northern Appalachian Folk Festival presents: The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers


As the Northern Appalachian Folk Festival (NAFF) gets underway, bands are gearing up for their spot on stage.

One such band is The Jakob’s Ferry Stagglers, who will be performing at 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon on the main stage.

Incorporating old time, bluegrass, country and Americana style music, the band consists of four performers: Gary Antol (guitar/vocals/mandolin), Libby Eddy (fiddle/vocals), Joe Dep (banjo) and Ed Croft (upright bass/vocals).

Even though these four members are performing at NAFF, the band has seen its fair share of changes in its performers.

Since the band performs around 250 days a year, they generally circulate through auxiliary members. Recently, their previous banjo player left to pursue a teaching position in Buffalo, N.Y.

Although the band members are sometimes in flux, they are always able to find new people ready to join the group.

“We had a pretty good reputation as a good working band,” Antol said.

He said he believes this fact had made it easier for them to find individuals willing to play alongside them.

Still, Antol and Eddy have held strong throughout the years, remaining in the band since its beginning.

The band originally formed in 2010 under the name Weedrag. To avoid confusion with another band’s name, Weedrag became The Jakob’s Ferry Stagglers.

Simply becasue of the name change, the band went from playing in the tristate area to performing nationally, according to Antol.

As for significance behind their new name, Antol said it was based off his father’s suggestion to name the band after a small area in Pennsylvania called Jacobs Ferry.

Antol said his music is very important to him because it relays a story of how he began playing the guitar at 5 years old and has not stopped since.

“I don’t really know what else to do with myself,” he said.

For the other band members, Antol told a similar story, saying that each of the players grew up in musical households and have played for a long period of time.

“It is just kind of in their blood,” he said.

For students interested in pursuing music, Antol provided advice about the reality behind being a band musician.

“You have to be willing to work constantly,” he said. “You have to literally put all your time into it.”

Antol said he puts in 95 to 100 hours a week in order to address all of the band’s needs.

“You have to know how to do all of it: your own booking agent, own promoter, build all of your webpages […] There is a lot more to it than one would think.”

After the Northern Appalachian Folk Festival, the band is headed to Masontown, W.Va., where they will be performing at Deep Roots Mountain Revival Sept. 15 and 16.

As for future musical plans, the band will be focusing on promoting their new album, “White Lightning Road,” which was released in August. They are also working toward a live album that will hopefully hit the shelves around Christmas time, but that is a huge maybe, according to Antol.

The “White Lightning Road” album can be purchased on iTunes, Spotify and on the band’s website