Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bound for Strawberry

Even with all the festivals I've been going to, Strawberry is the one that is special to me. I've spent the day getting ready, and now have a few hours to spare before leaving overnight for the 6:30 line arrival. For non-Strawberry goers, the line procedure is too complicated to explain, except to say that securing a prime camp location means arriving between 6:30 and 8:00. It's about a 3-1/2 hour drive, maybe even less with no traffic.

I went ahead at splurged today at the Wilderness Exchange to copy Dancin' Dave's setup, which I found so comfortable during MerleFest. I bought the same Eureka Sunrise 9 tent he uses along with a Slumberjack cot, and also a nice Lafuma bag, all for about $275. For once, I am going in style.

My group includes my daughter Twyla and nephew Zach, college students who are working part-time for Festival Preview over the summer. Both have attended lots of Strawberrys as younger kids, but were less interested in their teen years. Actually, Twyla did the Spring festival last year, and she's looking forward to meeting up with friends there. The weekend should give them a jump start into the festival mindset, so they'll come back ready to shape the content for the relaunch of the site.

The first thing we'll do next week is run the Best of the Fest poll, stripped down this year to just a few categories for the best overall performance, best newcomer and best stage personality. Last fall we named winners in every instrumental and vocal category, which was too much. But people enjoyed it (we had about 150 voters), so it makes sense to still do it in a reduced way.

Some of the acts I am most excited to see are Adrienne Young, who I love, La Guitara, which sounds delightful, Assembly of Dust, which has blown me away in the preview listening I've been doing, and of course John Hiatt, who I have actually never seen before. Lots of others too. We'll soon see who surpasses our expectations, and who creates this festival's memorable moment.

It goes without saying there will be no live blogging during the festival. While some other festivals are beginning to provide Internet access on site, I can safely say that won't be happening at Strawberry for a very long time. Strawberry's management puts on a fantastic festival, but they have their own ideas about what is and isn't "the Strawberry way."

So I'll next be online late in the day on Monday. See you then.