August 30, 2013

Late Summer Consumerism

For whatever reason, I returned from a week of camping (Falcon Ridge Folk Fest) and a week of Camp, and decided to go on a buying spree. No "change of season" clothes shopping, of course (that would be way too normal), but rather some tech / audio gack. Specifically:

  • A 50' audio snake (12 in / 4 out / XLR)
  • (2) 50' power cables (1/4" in and out)
  • (4) each, XLR to 1/4 adapters (M-F and F-M), to use the snake for instrument feeds if needed
  • (3) passive direct boxes (again, to use instruments with the snake)
Not actually sure why I bought all this stuff; doing sound for Little Ugly a few weeks back was fun and I'd like to do more of that, the snake especially will come in handy for kirtan sound (I've stepped back from playing kirtan but will be running the sound for WHY's kirtan in October and December), and I am sure it will come in handy with the Guinea Pigs at some point.

In addition, I've got some textured plastic "sunshade" material coming - the late day sun streaming into the living room with the door open has been a problem this year (as well as the neighbors seeing in) so I plan to put up some panels on the front porch. Might help with wind screen as well. And the roll of material is big enough that I might try to fabricate and mount some UV screens for the south facing yoga room windows and sliding glass door onto the deck. 

August 09, 2013

CT Folk Fest - Sept 7, 2013

After spending nearly a week on a hillside in NY immersed in folk music, one would think that the last thing I'd want is more of the same. Yet I am drawn to the CT Folk Festival this year, to be held Sept 7, 2013 at Edgerton PArk in New Haven.

Mostly, I walk away from Falcon Ridge with a bit of "listener" envy - I've worked my way up to a crew chief role that precludes a lot of time sitting and watching / listening. I'm within earshot of main stage through most of the weekend; I hear a lot of music and meet most of the artists, but it's not the same. So happy to go be one of the little people.

I'm also intrigued by the CT Folk Fests economic model (which appears to be mostly grant based), enabling them to provide a free concert. So intrigued in fact that I donated $50, mostly to make sure I'd go :)

And the artists look great this year. Recent Falcon Ridge artists The Stray Birds and Poor Old Shine  will be there, as well FRFF alumni Honor Finnegan and Brother Sun. And a whole lot more.

So, if the weather is good, I'll plop my derriere down in Edgerton Park in a few weeks and just LISTEN and WATCH!

August 07, 2013

Folk Fest vs. Camp

As I unpack from Falcon Ridge and start to prep for a week at camp, it's interesting to note the differences in terms of what I need for each. Mostly, I take a lot more to Falcon Ridge; the car will be much less crammed for Camp.

Things I'm not Bringing to Camp that I took to Falcon Ridge

1) Tent
2) Dining Fly / Tarp (with poles, stakes, tie downs, etc.)
3) Plastic tubs (2) for yoga supplies
4) Cooler
5) Merch trailer bin with printer, paper, ink, etc.
6) Laptop
7) 3 of 4 folding chairs (I'll bring one along)
8) Air mattress, pump (they have mattresses and bunks)
9) Cintronella bucket candles
10) Big Pile o' tarps
11) Folding Table

12) Tool bag
13) Inflatable Orca (aka Fudgie)
14) Alcohol, Cranberry Juice, Seltzer / Tonic Water, and Limes
15) A wash basin

Things I Bring to Both Folk Fest and Camp

1) Sleeping bag
2) Sheets and pillow
3) Towels
3) Musical instrument(s)
4) Yoga mats and props
5) Folding wagon
 6) Food (we have a little lawn party at Sappho beach, but probably less food than I brought to Falcon Ridge)

Even with some extra clothing (Camp has a barn dance, disco dance, and a tea dance, all of which require some sort of fashion statement) I ought to have plenty of room in the car up to Maine. 

August 06, 2013

Falcon Ridge 2013 - Part I

Back from the hills of Falcon Ridge. Before I sum up my week in folk heaven, let's let the Grand Slambovians and photographer Neale Eckstein put it all in perspective. This song, and video, totally gets it, and made me cry watching it.

So first off, my experience of Falcon Ridge is highly atypical. As a crew chief for the performer merchandise crew, I spend most of the festival in a trailer behind the Festival Merchandise tent, working. My days are long. I lead a yoga practice each morning (7:30 - 8:30 am), stop by the volunteer kitchen for some breakfast, and then head over to the merch trailer for 9:00 am opening. We check-in CDs, move everything from the trailers to the tent until 11 am when the tent opens for business. And then we hang out, keeping an eye on the stock in the tent, checking performers in and out throughout the day, coordinating artist signings, etc. Just before 11 pm, we pack up all the merch in boxes and ake it out to the trailers for safe keeping overnight.

Now, it's not all work. Our trailer is within earshot of main stage so I hear a lot of music; I step away from time to time to cruise the midway, grab a shower, head back to the campsite for a few.  And I get to interact with nearly all of the performers at some point, which is lovely. When amazing folks like Dan Navarro, Vance Gilbert and Eliza Gilkyson great you fondly with a hug and remember you from previous years, it's a nice treat.

But yeah, in terms of dancing, sitting in front of a stage, wandering the festival grounds at night looking for a song circle - not so much. Just too busy and my downtime over the weekend is a precious opportunity to restore and recharge.  Nevertheless, I always have some magic moments at the fest, and this year was no exception.

This was a good Nields year for me. At one point, Nerissa's young daughter was busking with her violin in the midway, and the image of this young girl working through a practiced tune (with all the fits and starts and missed notes of an earnest beginner) while mom sat back and proudly listened just filled me with joy. It was very sweet. Similarly, the pre-teen supergroup Belle Amie (consisting of Amelia Nields Chalfant, Isabella Deherdt, and Alouette Battea) was wonderful to watch all weekend - a short set after the Emerging Artist showcase, signing CDs in the merch tent, several back-up opportunities, and Amelia joining her mom and aunt on stage) was adorable and heart-warming. One of the few times I stood in front of  Main Stage was for the Nields (that was me dancing with my rainbow umbrella), and I caught a bit of  their family stage set which made me feel like a happy 6 year old. So yeah - the Nields. I caught them at the start of their career (in the 66 Hoxie Street days) and have been a fan ever since. So lovely to see them still vibrant and nurturing the next generation.

Susan Werner was also a highlight this year. I'll confess, I have never really "gotten" Susan; friends swear by her and I've listened, but it's never clicked. This year, listening to her (abetted by Red Molly) singing "May I Suggest" broke my heart wide open. I definitely need to give her another listen, especially her new CD Hayseed, and her newish live CD. Here's a short clip.

Susan ended up signing and meeting her fans for 2.5 hours on Saturday - an amazing sight. Everyone got a hug and some personal attention, she knew names of kids and life circumstances, she must have handed out close to a dozen CDs (which we furiously attempted to keep track of) and she promised to put at least that many folks on the guest list of her next show in their town. So if I've fallen in love with Susan Werner this weekend, you know why.

I taught yoga again this year. In a lot of ways, I owe my career as a yoga teacher to Falcon Ridge, must have been 2006 and 2007 when I first found myself inadvertently leading a practice (I was doing my personal practice and several folks were kind of following along) which planted the teacher training seed in my mind. So keeping morning yoga at Falcon Ridge is very important to me. I failed to put up a sign this year (just got too busy) but my 2012 sign magically appeared on the info board, and I ended up with 10-12 students each morning. Was quite lovely. And the new big tough plastic bins I purchased to stash my mats and props in worked perfectly - keeping things dry through multiple showers and the nightly dew.

Le Morte du Blog

Wow? Have I really failed to blog even once in July?

I resolve to do better!