Friday, May 11, 2007

Dancin' Dave's Merlefest (part 4)

By Dancin' Dave

Not all was exciting from my point of view about Merlefest 2007... When I learned that Elvis Costello was booked I was curious...mostly because I knew so little of him. As Iearned of his musical journeys I became even more curious and when I saw that his band would include Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas and Byron House I started to become excited. Funny thing---I talked with a bunch of folks about Elvis before the festival and half of them really were big fans and the others were either big non-fans (one young woman won't let her husband play any of Elvis' music while she's in the house...>g<) or ambivilant.

ottom line for me: I watched his first 4 or 5 tunes, played solo, and was counting on Sam and Jerry's appearance to "make it better". During the last song I watched and listened to without the boys I decided to head over to the Dance Tent for the Red Stick Ramblers and a cajun dance...where I had a blast!

I was having way too much fun at the dance but I did want to see the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band so I headed back to the Watson Stage, where I was again disappointed. I've been a big Dirt Band fan for lots of years, saw them more times than I can count and have loved the fact that they have presented us with sooo much great music through the years. But, without Jimmy Ibbotson it wasn't the same right off the bat, and as the show went on and I realized that they were going to play the same dozen or so songs that they've been playing on stage all of these years I lost interest. I was thinking: "come on guys, you have a huge catalogue of music; please mix it up a little!"

All in all, Merlefest 2007 was another super festival and I can't wait for next year. I love working with the part of the Merlefest staff that I do and I love working with the different campground folks who all go out of their way to help not only me and my operation, but are there for all of their customers. It's a great feeling.

On the other hand, I understand that there were some major breakdowns as far as the infrastructure of the festival venue itself....not enough porta-johns, way too long of lines at the food vendors (for there are obviously times when the amount of food vendors can't keep up with demand), and I heard that there was a big snafu Saturday evening as the big crowd tried to exit the campus.

There is lots of discussion of these problems on the Merlefest website, and there are some pretty angry and or disgusted folks who are reacting to the problems that I've stated. I do have the confidence in the Merlefest organization that they will take a hard look at all of the situations that come up when dealing with such a big crowd (especially on Saturday...) And that from this hard look solutions will present themselves.

As I said, I can't wait fo next year! (I'm especially anxious to see if those three fellows who book me come back from England for the fourth year in a row...! >g<)

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