Thursday, September 04, 2003
8-30-03 - The Fourth Annual Country Roads Folk Festival at the Historic Almost Heaven Farm in West Virginia

The hay wagon cart is full of festival goers, instead of hay. All wait to be shuttled down to the festival site down the hill. I get an awe filled comment on my tee shirt - you went to Falcon Ridge? I am surprised. This may be the same woman who tells us that she recently moved here from Boston and is bemoaning the fact that this area doesn't have the radio stations and clubs and folk venues she used to have. I tell her DC/Baltimore/VA have quite a music scene in the suburbs. Although we drive a lot, we reach most places, like this one, in about an hour.

How fortunate to have several local festivals. Right after Country Roads is the venerable and free Takoma Park Festival next Sunday, 9/7/03 from 11 am to 630 pm. And will it be the third annual SMAF festival this coming May 7-9,2004 in Havre de Grace, Md?

Last year we baked in 100 degree July heat here, and this year it is mild and may rain (but not storm). Better weather than last year. I will just get a sampling here today - as we walk in I see I've missed most of We're About Nine set on the Garden Stage. As we walk in they are singing "Hello Maria, Have you seen William". There are 4 stages here; I will see only a few of the many performers.

The Pat Humphries duo are singing We Are One. A breeze rains leaves golden in the changing light. The cascade down from the trees to the left and right of the stage. Pat comments on the beauty of this. Then the wind increases, and rain begins. I race for the barn, where We're about Nine are finishing a set.

Then Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer have us all up dancing to a rain song.

As the rain stops, I head back to the main stage to catch Pat Humphries and Sandy O. singing Peace Salaam Shalom.

Magpie is on next (oh I think all these people I have seen so far will be on of the eight stages at the Takoma Park Folk Festival).

Who Will Speak for the Trees - Contact your Senator to lobby against HR 1904. With the impassioned plea to lobby against the lumber industry, the sun comes out.

Dear Natalie - Magpie is encouraging the Dixie Chicks and others to continue to share what they feel. To Magpie's surprise they learned that at the Philadelphia folk festival Natalie's dad, I think, called her so she could hear this song via cell phone.

Raise Your Voice

Live Light

On the Garden Stage - In the audience Cletus Kennelly confers with Pat Klink as Vance Gilbert begins to sings Unfamiliar Moon - Vance jokes about the "yard" - as if the various meadows on this lovely farm are front yard. He jokes that he'll have us all over to his yard for a folk festival (and he is definitely NOT serious)!

Waiting for Gilligan
Eliza Jane

I see something I think is so cool - a man sits on this wet grass keying notes into a laptop.

The Hard Travelers main stage set includes;
One Life Stand
Civil War Song medley

The sun is out and getting hot now - a sort of last Harrah for a short time and then it starts to cool off.

Maureen, the hostess of this event, introduces Vance Gilbert as one of her personal favorites who "plays like God, sings like the top angel and has the wit of the devil". You say it well Mo.

Vance's set includes:
Why are We so Cruel
Vance tells us he turns 45 in October and he's not cool anymore. Living in the suburbs - with a white poodle and a blue van. Many of us here are older than we were once. Maybe none of us (except We're About Nine) are cool anymore. This is a great lead in to his next song
Heaven Help Us All
Pablo's Lights
Unfamiliar Moon
When Jimmy Falls in Love

Vance asks Maureen something and she begins to tell us the history of the house. Vance jokes if you ask her the time she'll tell you how to make a watch. But Maureen's passions for so much are part of the gift that leads her to share her property, her love of music.

Maureen and her husband and foster girls are gracious to share this incredible farm land with meadows, tall trees and a stream with the folk community. So many great performers today. Although I leave before headliners Beth Nielson Chapman and Richie Havens, I am grateful to have been in this "almost heaven" for the day with congenial fans at this well organized song-fest. Mo recruited so many dedicated volunteers to keep this all running smoothly. What a great "lawn" party as Vance would say.

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