Wednesday, November 5, 2008

my last festival trip of 2008......

First off, folks...I am elated about the election!! It brings me both goosebumps and teary eyes...

My last festival trip of 2008 was a dandy! The first festival on the itinerary was the Lake Eden Arts Festival (Leaf) in North Carolina and the second stop was in Florida for the Magnoliafest. The trip did contain some mixed emotions, but mostly for the good. It started out on October 9th, where my first stop was in Madison. I met two of my daughters at daughter Amanda's club, the Alchemy, for supper. We were joined by Monica's hubby Jeff and their more than wonderfully cute daughter Malia (and one of my favorite grandchildren...>g<), and friends. Jon is a Merlefest buddy of mine and Steve is a longtime friend of my daughters; they both live in Madison, and it was a pleasure to have them join in our little family get together. I spent the night at Monica's house, and then headed off the next day for Nashville.

It was a Friday night in Nashville when I arrived and I took in a Steep Canyon Rangers show at the World Famous Station Inn. I do love this place and have spent quite a few great musical nights there...I always check their schedule if I happen to be able to schedule a stop. I've been a fan of the Steep Canyon boys now for a few years; I really am diggin' their sound. Plus, Curley Seckler sat in with them for a few tunes and that was a treat as well. The Station Inn is a special musical treat!

I arrived in Asheville on Saturday and set up camp at the French Broad River Campground, which is located only about 15-20 minutes from downtown Asheville. It is sooo sweet to camp on the side of this magnificent river, with a wireless-highspeed internet connection right in my campsite! (the best of at least a couple of worlds...>g<)That night I ate a nice supper at the Jack of the Woods in Asheville, another sweet club that features great music. I caught the David Earl and the Plowshares show and danced the night away! They were hot and so were the dance partners....

At the end of the night I struck up a conversation with the keyboard player, who told me that his regular gig is with the Snake Oil Medicine Show....a band that I'm pretty familiar with from a couple of different festivals; they are a hoot! The lead singer, Caroline Pond, and I have danced...she is a riot; possessing enthusiasm galore, the rhythm to match, and sooo damned cute. He told me that the next night he'd be playing at the Rocket Club with an 8 or 9 piece swing jazz band...and that Caroline would sure to be there! I of course showed up, surprised Caroline, and had an awesome night of music and dance. I love Asheville....I have many friends, both old and new and in between, living there and so its a gas to be able to come to the area twice a year. If I ever moved to a town, Asheville would be at the top of the list.

On Monday I moved on to the Leaf venue, which is located at Camp Rockmont. This camp was once home to the Black Mountain College, a trail-blazing arts college that flourished in the 30s and 40s in those magical mountains. It has a wonderfully special vibe happenin', and Jennifer Pickering and her Leaf staff have picked up and even expanded on this positive feeling; I felt at home from the first day I arrived 4 years ago. I love getting to the festival venues early, having the time to do all of my setup work and at the same time watching the festivals grow. 'Tis exhilerating, to say the least! For the first couple of nights I'm about the only person on the grounds...I love it.

I will touch on the details of the Leaf itself in Part 2. Peace, David

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