Sunday, May 18, 2008

spring leaf 2008....whew!!!

One of the cool aspects of the Lake Eden Arts Festival for me is that going in I am aware of only a couple of the musical acts scheduled! This is the only festival like that for me and it's a gas...

At the start of this version of Leaf I was familiar with only two acts, the Steep Canyon Rangers and Nanci Griffith. I of course had every intention of catching Nanci....I've been a fan for many years now and haven't seen her for a few years and so was excited that she was on the lineup. But the weather of the day determined that I work on my teardown (more on THAT later....), so I was content to listen to her from across the lake. (it was so handy that sound does carry across water so work was directly across the lake from the Lakeside Stage.). I did catch the Steep Canyon Rangers (pictured top right...; my apologees to the bass man) and they were hot! I'm really liking this young bluegrass group...they have hot pickers and outstanding vocals and a fresh sound of their own. And I had a blast dancin' to their entire set; it was actually my favorite set of the festival.

One of the acts that was WAY fun was Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys! (pictured top left...) Man, this is hot western swing that was so much fun that after seeing them the first time I just had to catch them the second time as well....very good for getting that heart rate up there! And I met and watched and totally enjoyed a young couple who's favorite band is Big Sandy and who are absolutely the most fun dance couple I have ever seen. Whew....high high high energy and always in beat and cuter than cute besides. I did dance with the young woman (whose name escapes me at the moment....) and it was just as much fun to dance with her as it was to watch! They were a highlight of my Leaf.

I did miss a couple of shows that I probably would have caught if it weren't for Big Sandy, and that would have been David Wilcox (who I was aware of, actually, from many years ago at Telluride), and maybe even Arrested Development. My daughter Amanda is a fan of hip-hop and I wanted to tell her that I saw AD....a few friends of mine did catch them and said their show was phenomonal.

Other highlights for me included:

Buille, a traditional Irish group that I saw twice, again 'cause of the marvelous dance music they of my favorite all-time dance partners was at the Leaf, and we had a blast during the Main Stage Set....!

Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas, again, for the high-powered dance music that is so much fun, especially when surrounded by so many outstanding dance partners...>g<

The Warren Wilson Folk Choir, who under the tutelage of my friend Milt, is always a treat. Milt dives into old folk songs from many cultures and passionately passes this on to his choir. It is always beautiful and uplifting and it's a joy to watch the kids' faces as they respond to his directing. I love their shows...

Kellin Watson is a local musician, I believe, and I was sure glad that I caught her at the Lakeside Stage. Fun music, and danceable as well...(go figure...)

I did catch small samples of some New Orleans Jazz/blues with Charmaine Neville; some New Orleans funk with Big Sam's Funky Nation; and the Akira Satake Band, whose "world fusion banjo grooves" were wonderful. Great music... Corey Harris & the 5X5 Band combined reggae and roots blues and they were hot, as well.

And even with all that, there was much music that I missed! This festival is simply a mind and eye-blowing festival; it's actually as pleasing to the visual as it is to the audio. The setting is ultra-beautiful and the folks that attend the festival are the same. The festival brings a TON of young families (most of my patrons had small chlidren along...) and it is so sweet to see this.

The top photo is of my dear friend Berkeley and her cuter than cute daughter Aila, who is almost four years old now and is without a doubt precious! Berkeley's husband Tom runs the Sugar Shack, which of course features that famous festival food that I'm sure lots of you readers have eaten. You really can't go wrong with eating anything from the Sugar Shack. And Berkeley, when she has time, makes clothing using the batik (?) wife Lynn really likes Berkeley's stuff.

And the bottom photo is of me and some dear friends who I met almost ten years ago at the Suwannee Springfest/Magfest festivals in Florida, and I have had the joy of dancing with and watching these cute young gals grow into beautiful women. They have relocated in Asheville, so I get to see them at every Leaf and it is a hoot. From left to right is Annette and her four-month old, Christy and her husband Matt and her soon-to-be born little one and Julie is holding Christy and Matt's two year old Stella. Julie just happens to be that all-time favorite dance partner of mine that I mentioned earlier...she is soooo smooth and sultry and exciting and experimental and waaay cute to dance with and it is always a treat for me to twirl her around!

But most of all, the Leaf is the dancinest festival that I've is a pure joy for anyone who likes to dance. From dancin' to Irish or Cletic or cajun or bluegrass or latin/salsa to honytonk and swing, this festival is amazing. And my favorite is always the hour-long waltzing on Sunda just feels sooooo good! >g<

Part two will be on the way, soon....

Peace, David

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