Monday, July 18, 2011

The Green River Festival - A Recap

The Green River Festival or as I call it, National Get-A-Sunburn-Day, happened this past weekend and School for the Dead played on Saturday.  We had an interesting line-up for this show.  It was Brian, Max, Me, and Lesa Bezo. 

We were scheduled to play at 6:00 on the Meltdown Stage (thanks to Bill Childs), but Lesa, Brian, and I opted to arrive much earlier so we could enjoy the festival.  Rock-star parking brought us in close with a locker-on-wheels to store things like sunblock, water, a blanket, changes of clothes etc.  We got to see Terry Adams and the New NRBQ who were quite good.  Lesa and I could only handle seeing a few songs though because of the relentless sun on that hot, hot day.  We watched for a bit and then strolled off to put our blanket down in the shade of THE tree on the hill overlooking frisbee players, and hot air balloons, and a little train ride for kids.

We ran into many, many people that we knew.  Some I hadn't seen for years.  I ate some excellent festival food.  The vendors at this particular festival were heads above any other fair type things that I've been to.  Wood-oven baked pizza, chicken veggie wraps, clam strips, and chicken satay.  Brilliant.

After NRBnew, we were excited to see Kermit Ruffins who we know from watching the HBO series Treme.  Kermit's first song was perfect, the rest of his set was strange covers of 1970's and 1980's lite rock radio hits.  It was a bit of a bummer since we were hoping for some more traditional New Orleans music.  But what do we know about anything?  Nothing!

Burned out from the sun, we returned to our blanket which was no longer in the shade.  Luckily we discovered another hillside with abundant shadows of trees.  We flopped down there and stared up at the wispy clouds while being able to hear music coming from all three stages at the same time.  It was actually nice to hear it like that.  It had the kind of chaotic festival sound to it that made me crave french fries.

parade at green river fest
Two little girls parade their crafty crafts across the lower field of the festival.

We played our set in the little white tent at exactly 6:00 to a very hot and tired looking crowd.  The sun came in at an angle and managed to cover half of the grass floor in the tent, so the majority of the crowd sat to my left in the shade as I sang. Others stood just outside the tent.  A trio of young and tanned hippies danced joyously to Thinking of a Time and Super Hero.  I was ecstatic.

Lesa sang harmonies on all the songs and played guitar on the last two (Periscope and Omnivore).  She did a great job and receive many compliments on her boots and cool shirt.  We played a very energetic and somewhat rocking set.  I'd heard a lot of music that day and we were the first rock that I knew of.  It's not like we are Motorhead or anything but I felt like we sent out some nice angst across the vast colorful fields of grass and beach blankets.

We sold a few CDs after our set and I talked to a few nice people with sweat dripping into my eyes.  My sweat, not theirs.  I think.

After we cooled down a bit in the shade we got some dinner and then weaved our way to the front of the big stage to see Toots and the Maytals.  They pulled a we-have-a-secret-opener-in-the-beginning-of-our-set on the audience but eventually Toots came out and he killed in his leather vest and pants.  He was very powerful and full of energy.  Unfortunately, we were getting crushed by very aggressive reggae fans.  The standing/dancing crowd was pretty thick and a whole lot of unfortunate folks held firm to their blankets and chairs and coolers and umbrellas in the midst of it.  One older woman near me sat in a lawn chair with a whole lot of other chairs and coolers and folderal, people were struggling to get past or to find a place to stand and she just sat there ignoring it all and working on what appeared to be a crossword puzzle.  She was a confused time traveler, perhaps, intent on doing what SHE WAS DOING despite its effect on all those around her.  "Who put this concert here?!"

We watched some of the great set but eventually got elbowed out by one too many sweat drenched tie-dyed shirt.  Anyway they were starting to light up all the hot air balloons on the other side of the field.  We broke free of the crowd and the cooler night air greeted us.  We weaved through the blankets and made our way down into the pitch-black otherworldliness of the balloon field.  It was beautiful and dreamy.

Then we went home and watched Later with Jools Holland.

A perfect day.

balloons at green river fest
The lighting of the hot air balloons.  Awesome.

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