Summer festival season is almost here!
When I first saw the DelFest schedule, I was so excited I immediately harked back to when Bonnie Paine of Elephant Revival smiled at me at Targhee last summer. (Well, I think she smiled at me, but it may have been the young guy standing behind me. Whatever.)
Seeing the DelFest schedule triggered all sorts of “I wish/I hope/I’d love to” pre-festival season ideas, with at minimum Northwest Strings Summit and The Festy yet to go after that. So here goes:
I hope I get to hear and see a bunch of the entries on my personal “Mountains and Rivers” set list. Here’s a sampling:
- Where the Rivers Run Cold (Infamous Stringdusters)
- Night on the River (Infamous Stringdusters)
- Middlefork (Infamous Stringdusters)
- Grandfather Mountain (Railroad Earth)
- Black Muddy River (covered by Greensky Bluegrass)
- Down to the River (The Brothers Comatose)
- Sing to the Mountain (Elephant Revival)
- Home in Your Heart (Elephant Revival)
I’m looking forward to seeing The Lil’ Smokies for the first time.
I’m going to try and understand how Pandolfi, Thorn, Bont, Rose, Goessling, Vestal and Johnston can make their banjos sound so different (and so incredible).
I hope to actually meet a lot of folks I see on various facebook groups. If you’re as cool as your posts, I can’t wait to meet you.
I wish my wife wouldn’t swoon over Jake Joliff so much. I could steep in a Rogaine bath for three months and not be able to grow a man bun.
I want to take time to really notice stuff. I want to keep my eye out for random acts of kindness, for subtle signals between band members, for interesting people, for new licks, for people who pick up trash that isn’t theirs. And for trash that isn’t mine.
I plan to really listen and engage more substantively, especially conversations with those younger than me and those most different than me.
I hope no one calls me “Sir.”
I hope to spend as much time around campfires as I can. I want to jam with my banjo (named “SFB” by my wife; first word is “stupid”) and I don’t care if I screw up and it sounds like an elephant fart, I’m going to keep smiling and just enjoy playing with other people.
I’d love every festival to be an agenda-free zone. Don’t want to hear things like Trump, Hillary, Bernie or Cruz. (The one exception would be for everyone in North Carolina to use the opposite bathroom of their birth gender, on purpose, to protest the stupidity of their legislature and governor and show solidarity with those who have been targeted.)
I’m going to turn people on to frozen martini bombs.
I’d like to spend less time in the merch tent and more time getting to know the independent vendors. If I buy something I want it to have a story.
I want to have my arms around my wife, my son and our friends when Sam Bush plays “Circles Around Me”.
I hope to spend less time hopping around in the port-a-potty line. I think that means less beer and more bourbon.
Mostly, I want to use festivals to live freely, fully, expansively – to squeeze the most out of the moment. To have that summer camp kind of grin on my face that only comes when I’m all in, totally committed. And to hope that spirit is infectious in the best way possible to those around me.
So that’s mine – what’s yours?
Here’s to a great festival season! May your Klean Kanteen be never gritty and your tent be always dry.
And may Bonnie smile at you too.