Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fest 2006

Some random memories from this year’s Philadelphia Folk Festival…

Fest stared out with some magic. Down at the bottom of the camp hill, a number of tents had sat in the sun for too long as people were setting up on Thursday. A gust started blowing, hit the tree line and swirled up, taking a few hot-air-filled tents with it. We watched them swirl and dance some hundred or so feet above us. I’m glad it didn’t happen to me (one tent landed high in some trees), but man was it cool to watch.

Some great music… Jackson Brown and David Lindley played a 2-hour concert on Saturday afternoon… saw great sets by the Avett Brothers, Canadian funny band Arrogant Worms (“We are the Beaver!”) … Shemekia Copeland brought the house down Sunday night with a jawdropping set… The Burns Sisters took a surprisingly political turn, doing such a great job with Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” that I picked up their new album just to hear what they do with Steven Van Zandt’s “I Am a Patriot.”

There’s just great stuff all around at Fest. Every time you turn around, there’s a new band you’ve never heard of rocking you to the core. The two Hoots and Hellmouth sets I saw were amazing. They topped off they’re first one with a rousing “Everybody Must Get Stoned” (yeah, too lazy to look up the real Dylan title now) with labelmates Andrew Lipke and Matt Duke. Then the next day Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams (no lie, that’s their name) joined H&H and the terrific slide-guitar player Natalia Zuckerman for a rock-your-ass-off version of “Angels We Have Heard On High” mixed with Them’s “Gloria.” It was probably my favorite moment of fest, fresh and inspiring and full of the impish glee that always comes when you mix the sacred and the sexy.

Then again, there was the guy who wandered into our camp and the song about Jesus’s brother, Craig – which I just discovered is a Stephen Lynch song that you can hear online.

Plus, we were camped near our traditional fest buddies Nick, Brian, Lisa and Joyce, but right up next to the Illegal Aliens group. We had a blast hanging out in the shade with Clare, Dee, Celeste and the gang. Even if we occasionally forgot all about the letter “n.”

Plus, wandering children who won’t go away and a deeply stoned woman who stumbles into camp and proceeds to spoil a bunch of movies we haven’t seen yet! Good times, good times.


1 comment:

Greg! said...

I was so glad the Burns Sisters got so political. Between that and the various references to the legacies of Katrina a year later, I really got a feeling of the tradition of social responsability that's part of what defines Folk Music for me.

Give me more music, more Bush bashing, and more cowbell.

Always more cowbell.