Sunday, April 22, 2007

Wabes and HoJo to converge on the river

The Festival Preview database lists five festivals with "on the river" in their titles. Probably the best known are Reggae on the River (Aug. 3-5, Piercy CA) and Jam on the River (May 26-27, Philadelphia PA). There's also a Bluegrass on the River, Jazz on the River and Roots on the River.

But the just-announced American River Music Festival (Sept. 21-23, Coloma CA) is the first I know of that takes place partly "in the river." The South Fork of the American River has some of the best whitewater rafting in Northern California. The concept of this festival is to combine two days of roots music from performers such as the Waybacks, Laurie Lewis, Joe Craven and others with a day of whitewater rafting.

I've rafted the South Fork several times in the past and once I got to know what it means to be "in the river" when I fell out of the raft shooting the Meatgrinder rapid. Most folks get through without experiencing the full-body dip, though. What a rush!

The music will be notable for at least one reason. In addition to the Waybacks, the lineup includes Houston Jones, a band that includes several original members of the Waybacks. In fact, HoJo's Travis Jones sometimes jokes that Houston Jones has more Waybacks than the Waybacks do. I've never seen both bands together at the same festival and I'll be curious to see if they play together at all.

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