— From EF —

How to have a wildly entertained weekend while being sick as a dog: Start the 5 am Friday drive to the Kate Wolf Music Festival with a sore throat, progress through a shit-storm of coughing and sneezing, use up half a roll of paper blowing your nose, and wind up back home soggy and blissed by Monday noon.

Thousands of people arrive with tents and coolers and kids, and an instant city rises on Black Oak Ranch. The sun hits you like a hammer and shade is scarce, but the music and the mellow festival vibe go a long way toward making you not care. And the people are wonderful.

I hung out and chatted at Security Central for a while, asking if the aura of deep instant kinship went far enough to keep theft and damage at bay. Mostly, they said, although there’s been a little up-tick lately. Here’s a story.

About four years ago, a guitar went missing, and dozens of flyers and a big buzz of concern didn’t bring it back. (Well, hell, he’d left it propped up against a tree and went to take a leak or something.) People felt so bad that a collection was started, and it was enough to get him a truly fine new guitar from one of the vendors. Happy ending.

But wait. Just before he claimed his gift, the missing guitar showed up. Somebody’d seen it leaning against a tree and took it into his tent for safekeeping. Somehow he was enough out of the loop to miss all the fuss, but figured he should turn it in before everybody went home. There never was a theft.

The only cloud in the silver lining is that the donors would have upgraded his guitar a bunch, but you can’t have everything.

My personal favorites were Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott, followed closely by Tom Paxton, who has probably written everything that Bob Dylan didn’t. Listening to Tom reminisce for an hour with Wavy Gravy about the Village 60’s scene was very high octane indeed.

I’ve always liked Tim O’Brien’s music but wasn’t familiar with Darrell Scott. Individually they’re each truly fine, but put them together and something way greater than the sum happens. Wow. I hadn’t encountered Eliza Gilkyson before, and will start collecting her stuff. Indigo Girls took the setting sun and nearly put it in reverse.

So thanks to all the people who work their butts off to make this magic happen, and my condolences to the people in our next-door site. At seven this morning, their camper van’s car alarm went off, and with their gear all over the place for packing it took a while to find the keys. Different kind of concert, but one way or another we’ve all been there.

— From CB —

Returning from the Kate Wolf  Festival, I had warm feelings for the artists, the dedicated volunteers, and the mellow throngs. But there’s an unsung hero behind it all: George Harding.

Without his vital contribution, and the pioneering efforts of his predecessors, many of our great music festivals, arts fairs, political rallies, not to mention Burning Man, would happen only under great duress, if at all. Mr. Harding patented the polyurethane porta-potty in 1962.

One can speculate why the Sermon on the Mount is actually quite short.

— From the Fool —

I wrote an email to the President. He needs to pass a law. Everybody has to wear a red rubber nose.

Not in their free time. And not if they’re digging ditches or hammering nails or plowing fields — stuff that makes you sweat. Then you get a free pass. Soldiers don’t have to since it’d be a target, but generals do.

It’s only if you sit behind a desk and do big business and tell people what to do, then you get the nose.

It’d give people a way to look at you. They see you’re a clown, so if you do something funny, they laugh. Otherwise, if you just sit there in your necktie and your shoeshine, they take you seriously — they don’t get the joke. With a big red nose, bankers and bosses and politicians would at least get a lot more laughs.


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© Bishop & Fuller 2014


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