Spare me all your kind-hearted emails pointing out all the typos in this post. I am exhausted, I am uninspired by reality, and my heart (and brain) are still somewhere in Live Oak Florida dancing under the fullish moon and Spanish moss. We spent the weekend camping and grooving to the music at Springfest. Those of you who have been with me for a spell may recall our inaugural trip to Springfest two years ago. Frankly it was such a stellar trip in ‘08, we weren’t sure we could recreate the magic.
We were wrong. In fact, we topped it. If you don’t feel like tripping over my clumsy long-winded writing, feel free to scroll down and enjoy the tunes and pics in the montage. If you want to stick with me here I will try and cover the highlights.
Like the camping. Beautiful weather, 80’s and sunshine all day, chilly at night in the 40’s with a bright full moon and tall trees dripping in moss. Perfection. We camped with good friends from Mobile and upon arrival immediately befriended the crew from Tampa who were camping next to us. Great new friends! We merged camps and cocktails and snacks and laughed around the fire for hours on end.
At our very first show I saw a groovy festie dude twirling a stick and dancing in a sarong and that’s when it hit me: Manskirts are perfectly acceptable hotness at Springfest. I really cooed and charmed and cajoled and begged the Professor to rock the manskirt this weekend. Denied. (Although I do think he was considering it at one point. I saw his vehement resistance starting to crack.) Basically all the guys in our crew said they would only do it if so-and-so did it…but only one of the four guys in our group stepped up to the manskirt plate. Granted he is Colombian and has long dark hair and the accent to match the manskirt, but nonetheless, special kudos go to Antonio for embracing the manskirt sarong – or as he calls it, the Manwrong. Manwrong…but oh so right.
The music was off the charts. We saw Dread Clampitt, The Mosier Brothers, Jonathan Edwards, The Belleville Outfit, Robert Earl Keen, Scythian, Donna The Buffalo, Jim Lauderdale, Ruthie Foster and Leftover Salmon. Whew! Did I miss anyone?
The Belleville Outfit – the find of the festival. They were all the talk at the merch table. They are from right here in Austin and have a conncetion with Warren Hood of the Waybacks.
Robert Earl Keen – seen him dozen times and he never disappoints. Played all the songs I needed, flashing his trademark grin all the while. REK delivered.
Scythian – What can I say about Scythian. Two years ago someone on the Drake site encouraged us to go see Scythian. We didn’t get the magic. But they have developed legions of fans in the past two years. I somehow got involved in Scythian sticker distribution (good looking sticker for a boat or a cooler by the way) and we decided we should give Scythian another chance. When we wandered up they were covering “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight” by Cutting Crew. The Professor and I remain non-Scythian fans. Which is too bad because we have hundreds of Scythian stickers pouring out of every pocket of every backpack.
Donna The Buffalo – Herd Of Em? Love love love. I think we are officially becoming part of The Herd. We saw a couple of their shows during the weekend and loved them all. Especially the night show where I had a major hoop dancing breakthrough. I have been practicing my hoop dancing off & on for two years – ever since last Springfest. Despite my efforts, I wasn’t getting any better. But we met a hoop maker who helped me find the right size hoop (and explained to the Professor in detail how to make me one for me) and I could do it! I was a hooping fool! We were both so enthralled by my hooping breakthrough and the hoop-making instructions that we didn’t notice that the guy had a trout on his hat until we got home and saw the pictures. On what planet would we miss that? Apparently hooping to Donna The Buffalo.
Jim Lauderdale – Knock me over with a feather this guy can rock the Manuel western wear. As you may recall I was so star struck when I met Lauderdale face-to-face two years ago that I literally couldn’t speak. Vindication! I raced to the meet-n-greet after his show and words actually came out of my mouth and we had our picture taken together. His afternoon show was a real treat because we were joined by a couple from Tallahassee, Jeff & Leah, that the Professor is friends with. I actually met Jeff briefly last summer fishing the Missouri in Montana…fun to reconnect, meet his wife Leah, and enjoy music together. Look forward to more tunes and good times with these new friends.
Ruthie Foster – Sister’s got pipes. Period, paragraph. She blew the proverbial roof off the alfresca joint. And great hooping music. I heart Ruthie Foster. And everyone did as well.
Leftover Salmon – Let’s face it, millions of dirtbags can’t be wrong. Initially I wasn’t blown away by the few songs on my ipod but seeing them at midnight, with the tiki torches, the balloons bouncing around, the stick dancers, the live version was divine. We had a ball.
Of course the fun didn’t end with the last act each nite. On Friday night we laughed so hard around the campfire and found ourselves still awake at 2am. So we ventured across the field to the fabled Drum Circle. Not only did we go to the drum circle, somehow half our crew ended up participating in the drum circle. Let’s just say, even though the Professor wouldn’t don the manskirt, his stock went up with his bongo skills.
The second night we skipped the drum circle because we found this uber hip tent, trimmed in Christmas lights and marked with Bill Monroe and Vassar shrines. It was the Quartermoon Band tent and they kicked in around 3am in the campgrounds, picking and grinning and jamming with anyone and everyone. I requested “Rollin In My Sweet Babys Arms” and found myself in the round singing a round. Crazy fun.
Needless to say transition from Springfest to real life is a harsh one. I don’t think Little Chick will appreciate me hoop dancing in the carpool line in front of all her friends. So I am going to watch my own montage again, and drift off to images of mandolins and Spanish moss and tiki torches and banjoes and moonlight and campfire laughter…Springfest.