July 30, 2007

Back from Falcon Ridge

I'm back, more or less. It will be another week or so until I am back up to speed; this week will be a pretty full one - putting out work fires, doing two days in RI with the zipsters family, a mentoring thing, unpacking and putting away my folk festival gear, etc. A bit lower profile.

Re: festival. A very different year. I was sucked up into a crew chief vacuum this year; and as a result spent most of the festival in a trailer. In future years we can perhaps offload the work, deligate, but for the first year I was too worried about letting go of some parts of it (perhaps for good reason). So not a lot of the usual falcon ridge stuff: sitting in front of the stage, hanging out at the campsite, etc. Some memories, however:

* I did hear LOTS of mainstage music, since our trailer was right off the mainstage.

* I got to meet and interact with lots of my favorite performers: Richard Shindell, John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, the Nields, Dan Lowen, Tracy Grammar, Chris Thompson, Marshall Crenshaw, David Massengill. To a one: human, unassuming, nice. I kept my excitement masked, but inside - way cool.

* Meeting showcase performers. So exciting to be chosen 1 of 24 out of 100's of submissions. Such an opportunity to perform for 1000's. So much riding on a short two song set. Some were delighted - selling 20 or 50 or 100 CD's. Others were disappointed as they checked out with just a few pieces sold. Lots of human drama right there.

* Best mainstage memory - Gandalf Murphy doing Peace Train, with Dar and John Gorka singing backup, the crowd on their feet, a dozen or two small beack balls in the air, and 4 stilt walking doves moving through the crowd. Second place - Dar commanding the hillside to douse their hillside lights (for the Iowa bridge) so she could bring her son onstage and then light up the hillside. I am reminded of both a mother's delight at mothering, as well as a child's perspective that one's parent is all powerful. The hillside light display - a moment of mass inspiration initially that never fails to delight me, and no doubt surprised and delighted Dar the first time she saw it - and no doubt was delightful again seen through the prism of her son's eyes. Third best - running over to join the crowd as the Kennedy's performed "Stand" on Sunday morning. Amusingly, a blog search for other FRFF bloggers turned up this document by Aldon Hynes, who has a wonderful summary of the folk fest, and singled out the same "highlights" (but with pictures!)

* Morning Yoga at the dance tent - four days straight. Apparently there is a small FRFF yoga crowd, although I tend to be finishing up my practice as they arrive. My 'student' was back for 3 of the 4 mornings, and this year he practice close by. I thanked him for last year and confessed to how it had moved me, and how I am myself moving towards formal teacher training.

* Serendipity - a wonderful sun hat courtesy of my friend Liz, a bag of ice from another friend, a filling meal when I needed it, a kind word. Just a lot of magic in the air.

* Left the festival grounds on Friday morning and Saturday morning for trailer and computer supplies. Part of the learning process. Unusual - typically once I am at the fest, I stay put. Good workout for Agatha, and nice to find some porcelein, some A/C, and a cup of real coffee mid-fest. Even with, being home is culture shock, I am still trying to get my legs under me - my own bed, a hot shower, the dogs, etc.

* The big merchandise spreadsheet worked well, with one big exception. Hopefully it can be ironed out today.

As is my custom, I spent my festival money on showcase artists - I still remember buying Dar's cassettes (pre-CD) at early gigs and how thrilled it must have been for her to sell product. I have not had the chance to listen yet, but I liked what I heard from the stage, liked their energy (having met them), and/or caught the buzz. For the record, my three showcase CD purchases:

* Joe Jencks - The Candle and the Flame. Just a likeable guy - he broke a strong as he started his showcase set and was unphased, and I sat down with him at lunch and he seemed grounded and healthy about this all. Looking forward to exploring his disk.

* Zoe Mulford - Roadside Saints. One of those "who is that?" moments as wandered around working during the showcase, her CD cover art drew me, and then, after pikcing up her CD, she sat down at lunch (unlike Joe, who I foisted myself upon as the one person with open seats at his table that I recognized) and we chatted for a bit.

* Lindsay Mac - I'm a sucker for a cello. Nice Catie Curtis / Ani DiFranco vibe.

I also picked up some small David Massengill books. He was so very charming in interactions in the merch tent and I have been a fan for eons. For Zippy - Tracy Grammar's new one Seven is the Number and Eddie from Ohio's two disc live set: Three Rooms. And, during check-out, Richard Shindell's new one "Waiting for Delia" (a gift from Mr. Shindell), the Nields new one "Sister Holler" (via CT Sun's addict / merchandise manager Patty), and Pat Wictor's "Waiting for the Water" (I bought his newer one at the FRFF preview concert back in the spring)

FRFF 2007 - I survived. Now back to the real world.


Aldon Hynes said...

Thanks for the shout out to my blog post. It was a pretty spectacular Falcon Ridge this year, and I'm glad to see that you had similar highlights as I did.

I didn't mention that one of the things my daughter Fiona loves is all the Yoga at the Dance Tent before the family dance starts.

Mark said...

Howdy! A friend pointed me to your "Back from Falcon Ridge" blog post. Very nice portrayal of a favorite festival. I thought you might want to learn more about the doves that soared through mainstage during Gandolf's Peace Train. They're puppets from the Mortal Beasts & Deities troupe. For more information check out mortalbeastsanddeities.com