Monday, January 19, 2009

another reason why I love festivals....

Of course the music is the main reason I started attending festivals many years ago; I can never thank enough all of those wonderful musicians that choose to share their talents with the rest of us. But through the passage of these many years and these countless festivals another reason for me to love the experience of attendance has been the fact the I have found that I can meet the best people at a festival! Folks come to the festivals from all walks of life and all locales and many different views on life; and at the same time there is that one constant draw for everyone and that of course is the love of the music.

Today I was reliving a marvelous experience and I figured it was certainly worth a blog! Back in 2007 I had back to back sellout festivals....the first weekend was at the LEAF in North Carolina and the next weekend was in Florida at the Magnoliafest. And I needed help to pull that off! I did a little advertising and soon received an email from Sara, a dear friend, telling me that some friends of hers were going to be at the Magfest and that she was certain that they would love to help me and that also she was certain that I'd enjoy their company. I had no qualm about taking her advice and after contacting Dale and Laura, I felt relieved that my search for help was over.

The teardown at LEAF went smoothly, thanks to Lynne, another new friend/worker, and I headed down to Florida. I arrived and this fellow who I recognized walked up to me and introduced himself. We already knew each other, kind of....he and Laura had camped next to my regular patrons at Merlefest for a few years. We had only talked briefly; we never really had the time to get to know each other, as I was always super busy with my Merlefest setups.

So----after re-introducing me to his wife Laura, the first thing that they told me was that they wouldn't accept any pay! Oh... The second thing they said was: "are you hungry?" Mmm...this was goin' good! During the next two days Dale and Laura not only worked their butts off for me, but they also fed me. What a deal! (could I be any luckier...? >g<) We got all the setups set up in plenty of time, and became good friends in the process.

On Thursday the festival was about to start. I was hanging around my campsite when out from behind my trailer came bee-boppin' four women, dressed in red wigs that sported horns and they were all chanting something about "Dancin'Dave". The four were Laura, good friend Sara and another good friend Kerry, and one of their friends who I hadn't met before. And, they were all wearing t-shirts that read "Have You Slept With Dancin'Dave'sFestivalCamping.. Yet?" I absolutely cracked up, it was sooo hilarious! While I was busy cracking up Dale was busy filming the scene, and at the same time other friends had shown up...they were not in on the occurance, but their timing was impeccable! I was dumbfounded, to say the least...>g<

Turns out that Dale works at a screen-printing shop and he had took it upon himself to make up some Dancin'Dave t-shirts....there were four different models, consisting of around 20 shirts. He of course, in keeping with this theme, would not take any money for them. During the festival I handed a bunch of them out to friends, making sure that I saved a few for family back home. Then during the winter that year, a big package came delivered by UPS to my house one day...Dale had printed up yet another version, and this package included both t-shirts and sweatshirts. This was yet another crack-up...I laughed myself silly with this second surprise.

Since then I have actually made an order and Dale actually let me pay for the shirts. I have continued to give them to friends and family...and may even have some made up for sale someday. Folks seem to get a charge out of them, and I certainly do! I have even shared them with a couple of musical heroes/friends of Merlefest last spring I gave one to Jack Lawrence and at Magfest this past October I gave one to Sam Bush. And if I ever run into Barack I'll be sure to give him one as well....>g<

Gotta' love those festivals and those festivarians who hang out there!

The Teardown Crew: Dale, My, and yours truly..

Peace, David

Sunday, January 11, 2009

monica and sean...part 2

So the four of us sure had fun during the ride back to Madison that night! Lots of giggles, to say the least, and lots of fatherly questions that were both semi-serious and not even close to being semi-serious. It turns out that Sean had never done this before; he's a bit shy and when I contacted Chris's mother and related the story she was amused by the thought of the rest of the band urging and prodding him to take the step! (he did have the great taste to pick out an outstandingly beautiful and talented young woman...I will give him that! >g<)

In the next couple of years Monica and Sean got together quite often...Monica would fly to several of Nickel Creek's gigs and went on a couple of bus trips with them as well. She got to go to some fabulous festivals...the Newport Folk Festival and the Austin City Limits Festival come to mind. She called me while walking around the Austin festival and she knew that her Daddy would be mighty jealous of where she was! When she came to Merlefest with me she warned me up front that she wouldn't be hanging around with me much on Friday.... Over the course of her hangin' out with Sean she got to meet many famous musicians; just the other day I mentioned Lyle Lovett for some reason and she told me: "he's a really nice guy..." Oh. The time I was the most jealous was when she got to see a Mark O'Connor concert that I would have LOVED to see! She was able to get Mark to sign the cd for me, though....>g<

Monica is not the kind of person that gets starstruck, in any sense of the word. She does appreciate folks with talent, as we all do, but would never put a person on a pedestal for only that reason. So it was very refreshing to hear that she really liked the members of the band and that they had no ego issues at all. She told me that she would get a charge out of Chris, for he took an extreme interest in everything that was goin' on around him. She also really liked Mark Schatz, who was playing bass with the group during this time. She told me that after the Newport Folk Festival they were all sitting around on the bus when Sara noticed a large group of people waiting around for the buses to take them back to the parking area. It was apparently a long wait so she exclaimed: "Let's go play for them." So the entire group grabbed their instruments, hopped off the bus and gave an impromptu concert for the folks waiting....which actually set the bus schedule off; the security folks had to shut the concert down because the people were not that interested in getting on the buses anymore! There was another time when they did the same thing for a bunch of folks who were stranded in the rain, waiting for it to let up.

And in the course of this time that Monica and Sean were seeing each other (I don't know how many times I heard: "we're NOT dating, Father...we're JUST friends..."), Nickel Creek won a Grammy, so I of course had visions of having a Grammy-winning guitar player son in law. (yet another >g<) It was a fun time, to be sure, and a great family source of humor and speculation.

And in the end I suppose that they were "just friends", for Monica met a man who she fell in love with. And while Jeff doesn't play a guitar, he is a wonderful husband, son in law, brother in law, etc....and for the last year and a half he's been a wonderful father! Monica and he became the parents of Malia Mae, my more than beautiful precious granddaughter and come June they will be parents again when my next more than beautiful and precious granddaughter Keeli Ann will be born! (Monica is an ultrasound tech, so she knows exactly whats' goin' on inside her!)

Monica and Jeff and Malia Mae

Malia Mae

Peace, David

Saturday, January 10, 2009

monica and sean....

I first saw Nickel Creek at Merlefest in about 1995, I believe. I think that Chris Thile and Sara Watkins were around 14 years old and that Sara's brother Sean is either 3 or 4 years older. I do remember being mighty impressed with these youngsters! In the following years I became a big fan and had a blast watching and listening to them mature. I met them and their families personally in 1998 at the IBMA convention in Louisville, and always looked forward to seeing and hearing them at various festivals around the country.

During this time I had turned my family on to the Nickel Creek music. In December of 2001 I got a call from my lovely daughter in law Jenny, asking if Lynn and I would like to go to Milwaukee with her and my daughter Monica to see a Nickel Creek concert. It took a bit of talking for me to was a long drive and I had just seen them a couple of months before, but the girls were very excited about the concert, so away we went. On the way down there Jen was thinking outloud that I could get everyone backstage, seeing as how I knew the group. I told her that this probably could be arranged if the timing was right, but that I don't usually go way out of my way to do this....

So---the concert was held at a venue that usually caters to the heavy-metal kind of music/crowd! I even had to empty my pocket of my little Swiss army knife that is always present...they didn't want any stabbings in the place! And once you entered you couldn't leave and re-enter...this was not feeling good. The only chairs in the place were a few folding chairs on the perimeter of the big Lynn and I took seats and Monica and Jenny established standing positions right in front of the stage. And the wait was horrible....the club was blasting heavy-metal music and there was no escaping the onslaught! About the time I thought I'd go completely bonkers Nickel Creek came out and the concert began...just in the nick of time. >g<

And they rocked the place! Hotter than hot....Lynn and I were actually on the outskirts of the crowd and actually had a great view and the sound was good besides. I didn't envy the girls being crushed at the front of the stage, but I suppose that "crushed" is an unaccurate term, for they were diggin' it.

After the music ended we all found each other, and the girls were was a great concert! We were just standing around, feeling the excitement, when a fellow came up to Monica and said: "Sean would like to say "hi"..." She smiled and said: "Hi". He (Nickel Creek's road manager) went on to explain that Sean would really like to meet her and asked if that would be possible, and she said: "sure..." (and we all smiled...)

So we waited around for the band to come out and when they did they were quickly surrounded by folks wanting their autographs. Sean was intent on getting closer to Monica and it was fun to watch the looks on all the girls' faces who were trying to get his autograph when they realized that he was trying to get Monica's autograph! >g<

At this point Lynn and I wandered off to find the restrooms, which were closing quickly! It took awhile to navigate the place and by the time we got back to the music room Monica and Jenny and Sean had disappeared. Chris was still there talking with a fan and when he saw me he greeted me and I replied with: "I'm looking for my daughter...I think she's with Sean." Chris gave a funny little explanation that if she was with Sean she's in good hands, etc...he's a hoot. So, we did end up backstage and had a fun rest of the night...they had some great food and some great beer back there!

Anyhoo...what were the odds that Sean would pick out a girl from the crowd to meet that happened to be there with her Father?!

I'll have a part 2 of this story...later.

Peace, David