Sunday, August 2, 2009

Falcon Ridge 2009

It's a week after Falcon Ridge and life is almost back to my normal routine, if I even have such a thing. But in sitting down to write this blog, looking back at my notes and pics and tweets, I'm so happy remembering what a great time I had. Ahhh. Reminisce with me for a few minutes...

How could I not mention the mud? Unfortunately, it keeps raining in the Berkshires and the weekend of FRFF was no exception. I'm lucky enough to live only about 25 minutes from the festival site, so I got to get a warm shower and dry bed every night, but it was still a bummer to see the rain drive people into their tents and cars when great acts were playing and a few even had to be cancelled or rescheduled. Of course, mud boots were all the rage for women and men. Mom came to the fest with me and she tried to go without rubber boots, but by day two was heading to Agway for a pair.

I was doubly lucky because it never rained during any of my sets. It was beautifully sunny and breezy on Saturday afternoon when I was on the main stage for the Most Wanted Song Swap. So breezy, in fact, that my hair kept blowing into my mouth. It was annoying and I kept wondering why none of the other four women on stage seemed to be having unruly hair issues. Headband, bangs, barrettes and hat, that's why. Lesson learned and no more wild hair in the mouth for outdoor shows.

The next day was forecasted to be stormy, so I was nervous about my sets being cancelled. Thick clouds and a cold wind were blowing when I started a song swap with John Flynn, Ellis Paul, Tracy Grammar, Joe Henry, and Lucy Wainright Roche (hello!), but we played anyway. It got around to the last song of the hour and I played "My Miner" with everyone jamming along. It was a musically transcendent moment for me with the volume and intensity rising as I sang "Let me be your light, Let me be your light" over and over. And then the clouds broke and the first bright sunlight of the day shone down on us, just like we were calling for it. I don't know if that moment was as sublime to anyone else, but I think it might have been my favorite moment of performance so far in my life. Ahhh. Maybe there is a video. Maybe I don't want to see it, I just want to remember it with all it's fuzzy edges in my mind.

Festivals are so great for seeing lots of friends, hearing bands live that you've only heard about, and unfortunately they are also great for running into people who you should know, but can't remember their name. Oi! I am terrible at remembering people and I realize that I don't even try. It's a bad habit. And I met so many awesome new people this weekend, who I've probably already forgotten. It doesn't make up for it, but I don't expect people to remember me either. I like being at festivals and conferences where most people are wearing name tags. Name tags are great, especially when they also say where you work and what city you live in. If only we could figure out a way to make them remind us of when we met and who we know in common. I think I was the only one wearing a name tag at my five-year high school reunion. Everyone scoffed at the thought that we could forget each other after only 5 years, but I knew I had forgotten people's names and I was trying to start a trend. Never was much of a trendsetter in high school. Well, there was that wrap skirt pattern and the knitting club, but other than that....

OK. One more happy story. Last year, lots of folks were really disappointed that the tornado that hit the fest prevented Gandolf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams from performing. I've been hearing about them for a couple of years from every direction, so I was excited to hear them for myself. I have to say, they didn't blow me away. I think they are a really fun rock band, and the way they get their fans lathered into a frenzy makes for an exhilarating concert, but I guess it's just not my thing. Still, even I was getting really nervous as they took the stage on Saturday evening and the clouds were moving in. It would be too sad if their set was rained out again, leaving the fans wet and hungry for their music. They made it through a great, high-energy batch of songs and came to the encore as the sky was getting darker and more ominous. The lead singer shouted, "Get out your umbrellas, cause we're gonna play another song!" As they rocked out "Trans-Slambovian Bi-Polar Express" a parade of umbrellas formed all rainbow and flowered and polka-dotted, spinning and bouncing and snaking through the crowd. I had to join in. And it didn't rain one drop.

Here's a video of them playing the song a couple nights earlier in the dance tent:


OK. I've written too much already. But I also got dizzy spinning in a contra-dance while Blue Moose and The Unbuttoned Zippers played. And don't miss Dressing Room Tour, Part 3 with special guest Randall Williams, OK. That's enough. It was so fun! Can't wait for my next festival.... Move the Muse in Brockton Mass August 22!

video