Tuesday, July 20, 2010

'The Boulder Heritage Festival'

The festival is over. The week of long hours, musicians, food vendors, stages, tents, trailers, lights, dancing, poetry, monologues, books, CD's, scones, dutch over dinners, late night parties on red rock vistas, new songs, old songs, banners, photos, dogs, guitars, banjos, mandolins, horns, fluorescent necklaces, children, white haired women, cowboys, horses, mail, and most of all, the beautiful banter between people of all ages has come and gone into the gentle good night.

I can't really tell how I feel yet, the last of the musicians left yesterday afternoon, and I'm still at a little bit of a loss. Several times yesterday, I tried to lay down and take a restless nap, each time I drifted off, I was met with a new person pulling up my dirt driveway to talk about it all. We are ALL still processing I suppose. What does it all mean? Where did it all go? I only know that with each festival, I'm always changed in some way. Boulder is a unique community, they know how to seize a moment and squeeze every ounce of satisfaction out of it. This year, the book, 'The Women', was a definite deepening of the process of the festival. The other publications thus far have been wonderful historic documents, but this really hit personal revelations.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, last weekend, (starting Thursday) were The dates of The Boulder Heritage Festival, which is in its sixth year. This year, the concept was 'The Women'. The women were all there in force. By accident or fate, the music definitely belonged to the women as well. Viki Thorn, (of The Waifs) sang her soulful songs with her husband Matt. There isn't anything I can say here that can describe her voice or her comfort on a stage, I'll just say it was a rare and wonderful experience. There are few performers that can quiet a crowd at a festival, but she did this with a simple ease. She also sang with a group of women, (The Quarreling Society) who have become a festival favorite in just two years. Then there was Kacy Crowley, a singer/songwriter we brought in from Austin. She brought her painful songs to us with a voice that cut through the night air like butter, she was a great choice for this festival. She told stories about her songs and her life which added a dimension to her music that was a perfect compliment to her songs. Another crowd favorite was Camille and Doug Hall. Camille's new song, 'Mama's Gonna Tie Die', brought tears and laughter, a tribute song about our beloved Aunt LaRae who left us over twenty years ago. 'Ridin' the Faultline' were also a crowd favorite, and have come to our festival since the beginning. For the last four years, they have performed 'Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie' in tribute to my father who is still lost out there on the prairie. This year was especially poignant, as their front man and banjo player, has been battling a cancerous brain tumor. 'Home Jones' closed the festival with a seven-piece rhythm and blues band that got everyone up and dancing. We couldn't have asked for a better closing act. Their music makes everyone feel good, covering Motown favorites such as Marvin Gaye, along with their own compositions, executing them with a remarkable polish. The mark of a good festival is the 'after party', which I threw at 'The Boulder Bar', a sand rock vista at the foot of The Sugar Loaf ledge. It was mostly attended by the young adults of Boulder, but I did see a couple of older cowboys, sitting in chairs around the fire. The jam session wasn't as full as last year at The Red House Farm, but the mood was good. I left after a few songs around the fire, and when I came back at 7:30 the next morning to collect the chairs, the last of the party was just leaving. It made me long to be twenty-five again, when I could watch the sun come up, and then still go to work. For a moment, I was living vicariously through these young farm workers, "Youth was NOT wasted on the young," on this morning.

Then there was the heritage part of the program, in a beautiful tent setting that Cheryl brought in. Home remedies, family histories, and, Cheryl did a beautifully executed monologue of her Great Grandmother, Dora Black, who had lost her husband and six of her children during her lifetime. The tent was packed with family members filled with tears, and was capped with a beautiful song, 'Dora Black', by Camille Hall who had written the song without knowing she was six months old and present when Dora Black finally died. The food was prepared and managed by Kelly Lock and Sara from Kiva Koffeehouse, and was a wonderful compliment to the dutch oven dinner late Saturday afternoon. The weather cooperated throughout, clouds covering the after noon to cut down the slight heat wave that had entered the southern part of Utah.

Its always interesting to gage the state of mind 'going in' to a festival like this, and then coming out with such different thoughts and moods. There is always plenty of tension and anxiety going in, and then you are inside of it, like an eye of a hurricane. Then when you have moved through the eye of the hurricane, you are once again pitching and holding on for cover through the outside again, wondering when the storm will end. Then it does end, and you continue on with life and the next part of the journey.

The next part of the journey will be this Friday night, where I am setting up a singer/songwriting open mic night at the Burr Tail Outpost, and then, a week from Saturday when I'll be performing 'Bohemian Cowboy' in Escalante. So, I'll have to find some more energy going into the end of this week. That's my report from Boulder, Utah, home of The Boulder Heritage Festival, 2010.

I'm still trying to calm Baby down, as she attended the festival as well, and still hasn't got back to her usual state. She is smiling though, and I know she appreciates the effort exerted to always take her with me, even when it seems easier to leave her at home. She more than makes up for all of it, with her sunny disposition and her circus dog tricks. It was always a joy to come home with her, and feel her snuggle up at my feet for a few hours of sleep. I suppose I'm learning how to be a good father, even though I have a daughter that walks on four legs…

4 comments:

Gerry said...

It's great to get your report on the festival since you were 'in the eye of the storm' after I had posted the song "Bridal Train" on You tube performed by Vicki and Matt Thorn in my blog. It is always wonderfully illuminating to get an inside story by one of the planners and organizers who m-ceed the event and help see to it that it all came off as scheduled. I see this as just another great theatrical event that you have been a part of producing throughout your life, and I am sure the participants feel that way too! No wonder Baby is still trying to recover what she tried to take in since this was really her first year to the festival as a more mature dog. Last year she was just a young pup. I can just see her still thinking, "What was that?" The same with that little boy with the red wagon who was also able to jump in and take a nap when the festival got too tiring to him. What is great about this festival is that it could be a great family affair in one of the most picturesque settings on earth. According to the reports, the planners outdid themselves this year with something to affect everyone!

Connie said...

some day-when you deceide to slow down a bit-you really should be a writer..I ws spell bound on every word,wishing to be there,although a stranger,I'll bet no one knows a stranger at that festival...loved the way you quipped youth was not wasted on the young that morning...

kanyonlandking-annk.blogspot.com said...

It seems that when each person writes, they bring a different flavor to what happened, always fascinating. What hits one..other's never mention, so having information come from all directions add to the flavor. Raymond's song Chasing Wild Horses
was a hit for me. I loved it and made me remember chasing them in the yellow jeep. I think all the women who participated more than satisfying. There is an unusual mix in Boulder. I like what happens..it's fun.

LaRena said...

It is true that each person presenting or working on the festival is struck by a different aspect. I am grateful to get several reports as it sort of fleshes out the celebration and makes me feel less deprived that I couldn't attend this year. It sounds like it was a heck of a good time for many with memories and talent enough to go a round. Thank you Raymond for all of your hard work every year. Best to baby. She is quite the little beauty.