Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Grey Fox and Floydfest back to back

By Dancin' Dave

Good morning fellow music lovers....I am back home here in Northern Wisconsin after a fabulous double festival trip to New York for Greyfox and Virginia for Floydfest. Two finer festivals I have never witnessed and while the festivals themselves differ from each other, there are also many similarities...

The first would be the dedication of the staff to producing the best festival possible! Of course the Greyfox folks have been at it much longer than the Floydfest folks (it was only the 6th year for Floyd...), and even with all that experience the main drive is constantly to come up with new ways to please the audience. This comes straight from Mary Doub, whose infectious attitude permeates all those around her. And I have found Kris Hodges and Erika Johnson to have the same burning desire to put on a festival that will thrill the attendees at Floyd.

And to me it's the attendees', staffs', volunteers', artists', vendors', etc. personalities that are every bit as important for a festival to be a success as the music itself. I'm in a fortunate position in that I get to interact with all of these facets of the festival scene, and I dig it! >g< There are many fine and more than fine folks that frequent both Greyfox and Floydfest and I thought I'd touch on some of them....

Artist interactions
I had a great conversation with Pete Wernick at Greyfox concerning the level of musicianship in the young musicians these days.....Scott Vestal telling how thrilled he was to be playing with one of his idols.....sharing a thought with Ron Thomason on the cutting of education funding....dancin' and smiling with my friend Kristin Andreassen in the dance tent, along with Sara (of the Duhks).....hangin' out with Earl-girls at their compound and discovering just how sweet Oskar Brewery brews are >g<....getting to watch a set by the Infamous Stringdusters at Greyfox with Chris Thile and seeing his face light up after each blistering solo by the boys......and happily delivering ice cold Leinies to both Jesse Cobb of the Stringdusters and a fellow Wisconsin native, and to cool Joe Kyle, Jr. of the Waybacks who always appreciates a good beer!

At Floydfest I had a great visit with Mr. Bush himself, and among other things we talked about Vassar's fiddle and Richard Thompson. I had sent Sam some acoustic shows of Richard's and recently sent him Richard's latest release, "Sweet Warrior". Sam had been able to check out Richard's set at Bonarro and his main reaction to all of this Richard stuff was: "Holy Snakes!!!" (a dream of mine is that someday those two collaborate....!)

Grey Fox staff
John Watson and John McKernan are a joy to watch while all the while they're working their butts off.....Ernie is always a hoot!....Louis digging electrical ditches with only one hand.....Lisa trying not very successfully to be not TOO excited over her job (!), (and handling that job very very well, I may add...).....visiting with Chuck Wentworth and talking music and grandkids.....seeing Brian and Diane again and wishing they didn't live so far away....and this list could go on and on, but I'll stop after mentioning Mary Doub again---great job again, my friend!

Grey Fox customers
Kudos definitely have to go out to Len and Anneke, who returned to the Hill for the third year in a row from the Netherlands. The only problem with that was the fact that their luggage and their instruments did not make it to the Hill until the festival was over! Somehow on Sunday night at the after-festival party they were still smiling and planning the trip again for 2008......had a couple of young guys from Iceland as first time customers and those young fellows were in bluegrass heaven! So much so that the smiles on their faces might just be permanently all the rest of my Greyfox customers were pretty much regulars and I gotta' love that....>g<

At Floydfest special thanks go out to Shannon and of course Tonya and Theresa for all of their help in making my operation work.....and then there's Kris and Erika, who like Mary D. are the soul and driver of the festival. Super folks with super attitudes.

My customers at Floyd were also pretty much all regulars. I love it...they come from all over the country and will all be comin' back next year. I was treated to fine wine, fine food and other fine fineries and how lucky can a guy get? (as a good friend would say: "it's not what you know, it's WHO you know...>g<")

And it was especially fun to enjoy all of those great dance partners at both the end of each night my feet and legs start to protest and I try to listen, but...the music is just so damned danceable! (thanks again to all of those musicans...) And the partners just all so damned cute..>g<

It was also a gas to introduce Lynn's grandson (and my step-grandson) to Greyfox! Alic is 11 years old and his eyes and ears took in everything around him. It was sure fun to watch him become a "Hill convert"....and he earned lots of respect from me and Lynn as to how hard he worked when we needed his help. I suspect that he's already planning next year's trip.....

And the best I've saved for last! I didn't know how I was going to pull off two big festivals on back-to-back weekends, but I did it; thanks to the huge contributions from two new dear friends who worked their butts off for the Dancin' Dave cause. On Monday morning during teardown at Greyfox it started raining, which caused 17 or 18 tents to be put in the trailer sopping wet....dripping, even. Then on Tuesday during the setting up work at Floydfest it rained even harder! (luckily we had all the tent essentials such as sleeping bags, cots, etc. dry, as that stuff was done on Sunday night...) We had the good fortune as to have Wednesday with no rain, along with Thursday, so everything dried out just fine before customers arrived on Thursday and Friday. So----Sweeney and Karen are two of the finest folks I've ever met and they did all of this work with smiles on their faces and humor in their souls. I couldn't love them more.....

And there was music at these festivals....!

Peace, David

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