They have not, however, managed to win over the masses. Indeed, for all the progress made by H.O.R.D.E.'s fretless contingent, the biggest draws continue to be the ax-wielders. A word to the wise, then: Make sure you arrive early. Soul Coughing will be hitting the main stage early, at around 4:30 p.m. Leftover Salmon and Squirrel Nut Zippers are slated to play the second stage at 7:40 and 8:55, respectively.
Rumors continue to circulate as to who will occupy the open slots remaining on the Coral Sky bill. The odds-on favorite for one slot, based on gossip from Mosher and Herman, is Blues Traveler, the band that gave birth to the H.O.R.D.E. concept six years ago. The two names mentioned for the second slot are Beck and Sheryl Crow. Considering that Coral Sky will be the festival's final stop, don't be surprised to see other big names drop by.
Also worth noting is that Neil Young has taken to playing an acoustic set as soon as the gates open. The man who played grunge before grunge existed has fully recovered from the hand injury he sustained cutting a ham sandwich, and according to both Mosher and Herman, he's in top form.
"Neil's playing great," Mosher says. "I'll tell you this: I felt a lot better about being 30 when I saw him. He's out there playing with the enthusiasm of a seventeen-year-old. I swear to God, I'd have a heart attack if I played that hard. Before this tour began, I probably would have said that he'd be my least favorite act. But I've got a new respect for him. His voice doesn't sound whiny at all. You know how it sounded so whiny in the Seventies? Wait a second, don't print that. He'll probably come over and punch me in the nose."