Aah, New York in the Summer!

We just got back from our blitz tour of Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Connecticut and NYC. Falcon Ridge was a wondrous experience--those New Englanders like their summer, even if it behaves like winter in California--rained every day; the fields turned into three inches of slick brown muck; thunder and lightning, hail and brimstone, everything but locusts and plague . . .and everybody had a great time. We got caught in a sudden downpour (which turned Dave's unguarded sleeping bag into a water bed) while visiting a charming couple, Dave and Sue Bastien from New Hampshire, and their friends. No problem--they threw up sheets with clothespins to the sides of their cozy ten-by-ten canopy, and 8 or 9 of us huddled in their for three and a half hours waiting out the storm and swapping every song we knew, and several that we didn't. When we got back to our tent, there was an all-out hoedown going on in the food hall down the road, with as much whooping, stomping and hollering as I've ever heard at 1 in the morning. We went over to peek in just as it ended--I've never seen so many rosy-cheeked, happy, exhausted people trudging through mud before. The emerging artists showcase was fun--incredibly well organized backstage, house sound was apparently great, audience appreciative and warm, and sun shining. Even more fun was playing in Newtown CT at the Congregatoinal Church capably ministered by Vickie's brother Matt. Always cheerful and energetic, Matt and his wife Martha organized a publicity blitz, advance tickets, posters, newspaper articles, etc., etc. and the result was a whole bunch of enthusiastic folk music fans on a Sunday evening paying to let us have a great time. At the end, the audience stood up and cheered, and our ten-year-old son Cameron ran up on stage. I thought he was going to high five me, or tell me how great the show was--but it was hot and all he wanted was to steal my extra water bottle. Then on to New York City, the big apple with a little worm hole where they let folk music in. We played at a place called Googies on a sweltering muggy Monday night. The place notified us in advance that they wanted acts to bring at least 20 people, and we only knew of five who were coming. As Vickie and I were taking a cab cross town to get there, Dave called to say he and his brother had just had a fender bender, were waiting for the police, and might not get there. {Dave's our guitar player, and Ned was one of the five.) When we got there, the sound guy was AWOL. We only had a 50-minute set, with an act immediately following us, so we fidgetted as minutes ticked away. The stage was lit and hot, and even before we started, we were literally dripping. The sound guy finally showed up, and we started the first song five minutes late as a duo, looking hot, forlorn and worried. Then good things happened--in comes a crowd of locals, filling the room. In comes Dave after the second chorus and jumps on stage for the next song as if nothing had happened. Drinking and rowdy music appreciation ensue. A group of Ned's friends invite us around the corner to a beauty shop one of them runs, which happens to have a PA next to the shampoo chairs(!). They go get some pizza and wine, and we plug in and play a second set for a room packed with hairdressers and revellers. Aside from the challenge of picking guitar in a swivel chair with arms and a hair dryer hood, it was a nice reminder of the best thing about living in a vibrant city--the abundance of people willing to spontaneously gather and celebrate life, music and each other. Good trip all around.

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