Folk Festivals are a Time for Sharing Music
Two weeks ago as we drove down the Wakulla Cutoff through the lush jungle of the Florida panhandle along the Gulf Coast, we had to slow down to let an alligator cross the road. Maggie and I had just played a new folk festival at a winery in Interlachen, Florida, and we were exhausted. (Falling off a ladder last month didn’t help my energy level)
This has been a busy season for us. We’re just now home from playing the Florida Folk Festival over the Memorial Weekend in White Springs. Three nights of great song circles at our camp (people call it Mudville) with amazing singer/songwriters dropping by from early evening to just before daybreak to share songs. That’s the reason most of us play these smaller festivals. It’s not for the money, but for the chance to do something very rare for touring musicians. It gives us a chance to listen and to share.
On the road there is never time to stop along the way to hear others. Maggie and I arranged a trip out West a year or so ago that allowed us to catch Johnny Clegg in concert in Albuquerque, but that was a rare event.
So folk festivals are like a family reunion. Everyone brings out their latest songs, food and drink are passed around and the party never ends. Maggie’s birthday was May 25th and we made it a three-day party.
Friday night on the mainstage at The Amphitheater, the headliners, Jubal’s Kin, began their concert by leading a few thousand people in a grand version of Happy Birthday for Maggie. That was sweet.
So, now we’re home to welcome the next singer/songwriter to our own twice-weekly concert series in the panhandle, then we have an opportunity to play the two ourselves before heading out on the road again. That will also be the week of our 41st wedding anniversary, so that’ll be cool.
Wish you could all join us. It’s an incredible line-up and we’ve already booked it into the Fall. Pierce Pettis will be here to play our 4th of July show and the other talent is just as amazing. The local newspaper and television have each done a special on the shows recently and that should help. It takes a long time to create something like this, and that’s the only worry. Maggie and I book the hall, pay the musicians and provide PA at both locations about 60 miles apart. It’s been a very exciting adventure.
Sitting here now with my first cup of coffee back in my own home, wanting to sleep for a week but that ain’t gonna happen, so I thought I’d just pen this to get it out, and to think a little about this music thing that has sustained me for 65 years so far. Life is good.