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I normally try not to rip stuff right off JD over at Five Before Chaos because I know there’s a certain degree of cross-traffic we both get, but seeing how Bob Dylan is my absolute favorite musician (it’s more an obsession) followed by Tom Waits, well, I really just have to post this. Awesome.
I know I told you that the Festival was done and I’d get back to writing, but it hasn’t happened. Sorry- I’ve got a half-way sided garage, as well as a veggie garden, perennial flower garden, ande many fruit trees/bushes that are just desperate for some love and attention. Plus I think in a week or two I’m going to rip up the carpet in the living room and linoleum in the kitchen and put in wood flooring.
In the meantime, people are still asking me how the NEK Music Fest went this year, to which I gladly give you this:
Hi everyone. I’m back from the NEK Music Festival. Everyone survived, had an incredibly great time, ate and drank like kings, and got pretty darned wet and muddy. It was simply awesome. I can’t allow myself to write more than five sentences about this past weekend without pouring my thanks and admiration to everyone for their help. There’s nothing easy about turning this:
With a bit of this thrown in-between:
I should be getting back to regular postings around here over the next couple of days. Cheers!
As most of you know by now, I’m stepping out for a few days to go put on a music festival. Some of you, I’ll see up there, others of you live too far away and I probably won’t see up there. And a few of you (yes I’m talking to you JD), think you’re too cool for anything that didn’t spend at least part of its existence in 8-track form; so these latter groups will just have to get along without me for a few days here. I might get a couple more band previews up, but not much more for at least a week (except softball rain-out make-up game scheduling of course).
But if any of you reading this are thinking of going, but not sure, I’ll just make this one final appeal: it’s fun. A shit load of fun.
As Ed is (rightfully) fond of saying: You’ll never know till ya go.
Plus, you’ll get to see a whole lot of this (with less hair though):
Not like that’s necessarily something enticing, but I had to say something to lead-in before putting this picture up.
But perhaps you’d be enticed by something like this:
… or this…
… or this kinda stuff…
… or Bread & Puppet…
… or the most beautiful stage on the East…
… I’m a big fan of this sorta thing here…
… Mr Lif will be there again…
… Jan Meese will be there back too…
… I promise we’ll never do an all-staff “We Are The World” ever again (that’s me- er, Bob Dylan- at your far right, getting the hell outta there as soon as we were done)…
… or this is pretty cool…
…. so is the opening ceremony/sculpture burning and bonfire…
… one year it was a Phoenix…
… yes, last year’s sculpture was a surfer on a wave that went up…
… and then, if someone yanks the governor out of Ed’s golf cart and he starts driving around like a lunatic, we take it away from him and make him ride all over on this thing:
This is the latest of a series of previews for the Northeast Kingdom Music Festival, which is happening next weekend in East Albany, VT.
Though easily and often over-looked, the Northeast Kingdom Music Festival is about way more than music. At the root of our motivations to start, and continue, the put-on the NEKMF is our belief that music, and art in general, is a great event which can afford us the opportunity to come together and appreciate, as well as create, some incredibly amazing, beautiful, empowering, thoughtful, and sometimes just plain badass pieces of the human experience. Artistic self-expression is often focused on showcasing our individuality, but it is also quite capable (and quite good) at bringing people together to share something- as a part of a larger whole- which brings an entirely different meaning into our lives.
Which is a not-too-bad-if-I-do-say-so-myself lead-up to talking about Bread and Puppet Theater, based just down the road in Glover and coming up Saturday morning to perform their incredibly original and inspiring circus.
From their own website (which, quite frankly, I was slightly surprised to find existed; it wasn’t too many years ago when trying to look them up online that I realized- as I probably should have- that in the Twenty-First Century they weren’t on the web):
Bread & Puppet Theater, one of the oldest noncommercial, self-supporting theaters in the country, has created politically and socially aware shows with commitment to community participation since 1963. At present, our shows are antiwar, anti-Capitalism, anti-Globalization and pro-Vermont independence.
At their farm in Glover, every Sunday and Friday through the summer (um, in if you’re from the area, you know that means July and August) Peter, Linda, Justin, Rose, and everyone else put on performances that, if you’re anywhere close by, you should really make it out to. And by close, I mean reading this. For the past few years now they’ve been coming to NEKMF, but there’s also nothing in the world like being out at their farm, so I headed up there this past Sunday. I’ve got to say, the one part of the afternoon that I overheard a lot of people scratching their heads about- yes some of Peter’s shows are a bit more abstract than others- was one of my favorite parts of the day. With the crowd led, first from their natural amphitheater/performing field into the forest and then out into the big field, we sat several hundred feet away as the puppeteers (AKA apprentices, AKA Peter’s work crew) put on a largely silent show that lasted, well, I don’t know, a pretty friggin long time. Dressed as various animals, people, and things, they slowly made their way in small groups to gather under clothes-lines, start small fires, and at the sound of the horn, disappear over the hills.
While a lot of the attendees seemed to be a bit baffled, I thought it was a very beautiful telling of our differences, how we come together as smaller communities in a literal field of many communities, and then just like that, leave beyond the horizon. The drawn-out, methodical movements across the field hit me as a welcome reminder that although life seems to move by increasingly fast, we are in fact privy to a strange and long life on this place.
B & P are a Vermont institution, and their participation at NEKMF is an incredible addition to our show every year.
A Quick Word On Cheap Art Philosophy
Again, from B & P’s website:
The Cheap Art movement was launched in 1982 by the Bread and Puppet Theater in direct response to the business of art and its growing appropriation by the corporate sector. With this fact taken into account art becomes:
“political whether you like it or not…”
Cheap Art hopes to reestablish the appreciation of artistic creation by making it available to a wider audience and inspire anyone to revel in an art making process that is not subject to academic approval or curatorial acceptance.
Why? “Because art is food…”, reads the Why Cheap Art manifesto. Cheap Art ranges in price from 5 cents to 50 dollars.
Anyone can participate!
Quite frankly, the Cheap Art philosophy is readily apparent in what we’re trying to accomplish at NEKMF: we knew if we had a beer garden it would cost everyone a fortune so we decided to just make the party BYOB; we provide free, clean, mountain-fresh water for everyone; and we knew that not everyone can fork-over the $120, $175, $200 tickets that most music festivals are selling these days, so we made sure that we’re offering the best bargain around ($50 in advance for the whole weekend? you’ll easily spent two or three times that much to see one two-hour show from your favorite chart-topper).
And on your way home after the Festival, stop up RT 122 in Glover, catch the 3 pm “ding dong’s” (um, side shows) before the 4 pm circus, which is always followed by fresh-baked bread. As Peter says, “art is like bread- you need it”.
This is the second of a short series of posts in which I take a cursory look at some of the acts that will be performing a the Northeast Kingdom Music Festival, which happens August 1st & 2nd at the Chilly Ranch in East Albany, Vermont.
The Devil Make Three are one of my all-time favorite acts. And right at the start, I’d like to be clear that my love for this group has absolutely nothing to do with my small crush on the bass-player, Lucia. Clever and original lyrics, an energized and refreshing take on traditional country, bluegrass and blues arrangements, and juts a raw “lets have a good time cause those fuckers could send us up in flames at any moment” attitude. Not to mention, probably 90% of their songs are about love, loss, and drinking (sometimes all interconnected).
As their website says it:
Laced with elements of ragtime, country, folk and rockabilly, the critically praised, drummer-less trio – consisting of guitarist/frontman Pete Bernhard, stand-up bassist Lucia Turino and guitarist Cooper McBean – brings forth a genuine approach to acoustic music that is deeply steeped in rhythm
And from NEKMF 2006’s Side Stage:
Of course, the purpose of this post is to showcase- and entice you to come to- the Northeast Kingdom Music Festival in East Albany, Vermont Aug 1 & 2. However, serious fans of DM3 might want to try, like me, to catch them July 29 at Nectar’s in Burlington and then again July 30 at the increasingly famous Langdon Street Cafe in Montpelier. When they played LSC a few days before NEKMF last year, not only did the roof actually blow off the place, but I was pretty sure the whole building was on the verge of coming down, they kicked all our asses. Then close-out your week with two sure-to-be incredible sets from The Devil Makes Three at the NEKMF. You won’t be disappointed.
[Note: This is the first of a mini-series of previews I’m going to do about bands at the upcoming Northeast Kingdom Music Festival in Albany, VT August 1 & 2)
For the first installment of this preview series you get a hybrid preview/show review. What I’m not able to give to you is the kick fucking ass experience of seeing The Mathematicians for yourself. These guys have played at the Langdon Street Cafe a few times now, but until last night I haven’t had the opportunity to see them. Boy have I been missing out. If you’re able to image a perfect hybrid of the Beatsie Boys meeting Devo Meeting Revenge of the Nerds (with a twist of real, early 80’s punk energy thrown in there) than you might be able to catch a glimpse of the kind of show these three guys put on.
They’ve played at LSC a couple of times before but each time I’ve missed it. The next day or two, I’ve heard pretty much nothing but raving, boisterous cheers about The Mathematicians’ show. So despite being zombie-like following a long week of house re-siding I made my way over to check these guy’s out. Shit. Really, I just can’t get the image out of my head of the big ending scene from Revenge of the Nerds where they all perform that ridiculous rap song in their super-nerdy glory, but nonetheless it rules the day and everyone goes home a champion of the universe:
But these guys are much better than that (obviously). Honestly, the energy they created through their combination intense, keyboard-bass-drum punk music, Beastie Boys-style three white MC badasses, and innovative post-modern electronic stylings was enough to make any party happen. I can’t wait to check ’em late night on the main stage at NEKMF.