Saturday, August 1, 2009

Grassroots Festival Day 1

Friday, July 17, 2009

We ran some errands in town, then headed to the Pinecreek campground where V&C were setting up. It was great to see them after a week apart, and Nicky got to see them again before going off to the local Bed & Biscuit. Alas, festivals and dogs don't mix, so off she goes. I always hate warehousing the little rascal, as one never knows what kinds of bad habits she might pick up in such places.

We decided to carpool to the festival today so after dropping Nicky off, we rolled into Trumansburg and found a parking spot a half a mile from the fairground entrance. Passing through the gate we were soon immersed in a new reality. The music was loud and vibrant, coming from three different locations, and the crowd moved to their own rhythms; dancing, eating, meandering, people-watching. This was like the Wild West compared to Mariposa. The smell of ganja permeated the air and the coolers being toted around surely didn’t have soda in them. All the cops were outside the fence while inside was a serious party happening. Halter dresses, bare feet, bare midriffs, and tie-dye seemed the order of the day. My first thought was, “What am I doing here? I’m 59 years old… been there done that”. The average age of the crowd was probably in their late 20’s. It didn’t take long, though, to fall in with the atmosphere and enjoy myself. In spite of the frivolity, the whole scene was pretty peaceful. Upon further inspection, I saw many people in my age bracket, all probably feeling the way I did. To some it’s new, to some it’s nostalgia. To the children running around, it was just a big playground.

The first stage we wandered to showcased a fellow named Jim Lauderdale. He was more like a Country & Western dude but I noticed he was being backed by Donna the Buffalo, a beloved regional band I’d seen before, so we hung out and listened. The ensemble played good “country rock” and Carol was happy that he mentioned Gram Parsons by name. There were so many acts going on simultaneously that it was hard choose where to go. After his set we headed to the food, picked up some spicy pasta and sat on the grass to eat, while I counted my blessings. I'm not nearly as nimble as I used to be but I’m still alive and ticking. Knut couldn’t be here due to his condition. A high school friend “The Freid” died last month. My riding buddy “X” was killed in a motorcycle accident last spring. People I'll never see again. So this festival is for them. I'll go on enjoying it for all of us.

We headed for another stage and caught the end of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. They played great live funk, and really put on a show. The crowd was energized. After they finished, we wandered a bit more and had ice cream, then some members of our party were tired so we called it a night. It was dark by now, and so we left the festival with a good idea what was in store for the rest of the weekend.

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