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Return from Hiawatha

Hi, didja miss me? I got back Monday night from the Hiawatha Music Festival in Marquette, Michigan. It was such a good time -- the weather was perfect, the music on the main stage was fun, there was so much jamming in the camping area, and I was with friends new and old who I hadn't seen in a long time. The only reason I'm back is because it all ended.

Performers: These are just the performers I saw, but there were more: Ellis Paul was in fine voice again. jjfmi, he was again touring the campground, but there wasn't a jam going at the campsite where I stayed, so I didn't get to jam with him this year, either. (There's a story behind this.) Cheryl Wheeler, extremely funny and then touching just seconds later, and such a rich voice, too. The Milroys (from metro Detroit) acquitted themselves very well, assisted by the lovely and talented Annie & Rod Capps, Jason Dennie, and Tim Pak. (Annie gave me a copy of her new CD. It's so cool, very well done.) Kenny & Amanda Smith, a leading bluegrass act with one of those fifteen-year-old mandolin prodigies that you hear about who blows everyone away. Hayseed, a local swing band founded by the mandolin player from the bluegrass band I was part of in college (which all ended in tears, for me at least, but we won't think about that now). The Carolina Chocolate Drops came from the home of the real old timey music and showed it how it was done. Though I didn't see the Yid Vicious show, they came around the camping area a lot spreading Klezmer goodness all over, including a parade around the campground in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Jamming: I think there was more jamming at Hiawatha than I've ever seen at Blissfest, but maybe it's just that the Hiawatha camping area is a lot more condensed than at Bliss. Almost all of the jams I took part in were old-timey, bluegrass, or Celtic -- I didn't sing any of my own songs all weekend, but I'm not complaining at all. I had fun both playing (guitar and mandolin) and listening, and didn't get to nearly enough of the sessions. One of the jammers was a fiddler who just happened to teach my microeconomic principles class when I was in college.

Everything else: The weather was spectacularly pretty, as Marquette summer weather can be sometimes. It was not as cold as at Bliss, from what I've heard. The Tourist Park campground was packed; apparently the best way is to show up the night before, even though that costs extra, and get a campsite and hold onto it. I was staying with Dr. Dave* in a huge tent that has made me rethink my needs in camping. Good thing I wasn't staying in the camper with him and the kids, or else the cost of my new needs would skyrocket accordingly.

So for the last couple of days I've had fiddle tunes and the word "potato" sung to the the tune of the "Mexican Hat Dance" (that's Cheryl Wheeler's fault) swirling around my head. I guess that's one way to keep a folk festival from ending.

*As opposed to the Dave who is The Anonymous Poster #1, who is a master, and yes I mean of arts, get yer minds out of the gutter there.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2007 11:31 am (UTC)
Thankfully, enough years have passed that Ellis wouldn't remember the guy who sleepily turned him away from a Bliss jam.... right? RIGHT..???

(Hangs head in shame) I am NOT going to forgive myself for that...

Glad you had fun, though. See you tomorrow night!
Jul. 26th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
I don't know, but he had a new song this time called "The Night the Music Slept."

(no, I made that up.)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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