Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda

Got home from camping yesterday, spent today catching up on sleep, and airing out and putting away gear.

Thursday I was up late getting ready, and we got started a little later than planned, around 10:30. Luckily the traffic report said the inner loop of the Beltway to 95 was clear, so we took that way (instead of taking 15 to Pennsylvania). The worst backup was in Baltimore at the McHenry tunnel (they had shut down one tunnel for repairs), but after that it was smooth sailing. We stopped for lunch at the only worthwhile thing worth driving through New Jersey for, White Castle. Long a family favorite, I sucked down 6 of their little burgers, then Jill drove until we got to Hudson in New York. The last town of any size before we got to Falcon Ridge, I thought we’d be able to find Magic Hat, one of our favorite beers. I was right, and we also picked up some ice and bacon we needed.

We rolled in to camp around 5:30, one of the last to arrive (it had been open for camping since Wednesday night, but Jill worked Tuesday night, and we learned our lesson last year about not coming up at night). After we set up our tent, our friends Stuart and Janice prepared steaks, mashed potatoes, and martinis. That and some nice cold Magic Hat #9 hit the spot. Later on, we caught the David Bromberg Band – apparently a legend, but we left halfway through.

Friday morning we got up and had pancakes, again prepared by Stuart and Janice (we would feed them that night and Saturday morning). We watched a workshop with Sloan Wainwright, Ellis Paul, Lowen & Navarro, and Nerissa & Katryna Nields and caught a little of another one before headed back because it had started raining lightly. We were staying in what we called “Camp Edhead”. The common area (or “lounge”) was 3 14’x16′ canopy tents which was where everyone was when they weren’t in their tents. We were in the lounge as the rain started coming down harder, and harder, and harder. After about half an hour, we dashed out to our tent to discover heavy leaking, and pulled just about everything we could out to put in the car. The rain was pounding and the wind blowing for nearly four hours. Our favorite part was when a group in the middle of the lounge were singing songs. At one point they started singing Eddie From Ohio’s “Great Day” (a gospel type song), and during it, the rain let up almost completely. It resumed later, but never seemed as bad.

After the rain stopped, we assessed the damage. There must have been 3 gallons of water around the floor of the tent, and everything left on the floor was soaked. In the car, all of my clothes were damp, and I wore Jill’s shirt and pants the rest of the night. While it was raining, fellow Edhead Jeremy called a friend at home and had him look up the local forecast – scattered thunderstorms the rest of the weekend. We decided to prepare for the worst, and got the car ready to sleep in. We tried to bail the water out of the tent, but it was taking too long. I decided the only way was to dismantle the tent and pour the water out. Once we did that, we reassembled it and toweled up the last of the water.

We were pretty hungry, so Jill and I made dinner. We had chosen fajitas (we had cut and marinated the chicken and steak at home). Stuart and Janice had a two burner grill that put our little camp stove to shame, so we cooked on that. We thought we had brought more than enough food, but when we were done, we had tortillas, a little cheese, and two strips of meat. After we cleaned up, we caught disappear fear on the main stage, then came back and made a couple of hamburgers before going back and catching the Friday Night Summer’s Eve Song Swap with Greg Brown, Lucy Kaplansky, Richard Shindell and Eliza Gilkyson. We decided not to try and see any of the late night music (it was after midnight when they finished), as we were wiped out. We didn’t go to sleep yet, as Julie and Eddie from Eddie From Ohio came by and everyone hung out for a while. No rain had come by the time we went to bed, and we decided to sleep in the tent. One sleeping bag had been in the car, so we used it and the dry sheet. We didn’t get a great night’s sleep, as we got to bed after 2AM, and the heat and noise woke us up by 9. The bagpipes at 6AM didn’t help us sleep, either.

Saturday dawned partly cloudy, but then the sun came out and it stayed that way with some clouds for the rest of the weekend. Everyone rushed to take advantage of the sun for all the wet stuff. We put stuff on the car and an improvised clothesline around the tent. For breakfast, we had brought 10 scrambled eggs and a package of bacon. Stuart and Janice also had 10 eggs and we decided to cook those. Jeremy and Meg had sourdough bread and we grilled that in butter. I thought we’d have leftovers for sure, but everyting vanished as fast as I could cook it. Luckily Jill made sure there was enough left for me. With cooking and airing out, we got a late start on the day and mostly just caught Erin McKeown during the morning. We hung out in the shade of the lounge before going back and catching Lucy Kaplansky.

Later, Jill caught the blues workshop while I went back to camp and showered. I read a little while I relaxed, listening to Vance Gilbert (they broadcast the main stage on the radio). Janice was reading too, and after a while we decided to see about dinner. We had only planned the 2 nights and 2 mornings of cooking, but after realizng we had mashed potatoes, tortillas, and cheese, we decided to make potato pancakes and quesadillas. I must mention we brought two packages of flour tortillas; one was low carb, and you couldn’t taste a difference, we were impressed. Anyway, Jeremy contributed more cheese and salsa, along with sour cream, and a tasty meal was had.

Saturday night is the big one at the festival, and two of our favorites were performing. Girlyman was up after dinner, putting on a fine show. I love their harmonies, and “Postcards From Mexico” was my favorite song from last year. We were a little hungry and skipped the next act to split the last two burgers between me, Jill and Stuart. We got back in plenty of time to see Eddie From Ohio put on another great show. My only compaint was the short set (about an hour). They played a new song “The Bird” that I hadn’t heard live before.

After the Eddie From Ohio set, the band came by for a little while before they went to sing with Lowen & Navarro. We stayed in camp, talking and drinking until they got back. We had contributed to the community fund to put up a nice spread, including Shelly’s famous spinach dip. We hung out until the main stage was almost done, then headed up the hill.

The main stage is at the bottom of a big hill, and we were staying behind it and to the left. Up at the top of the hill was more camping, but right at the top were several camps known for their late night music. The one we went to, the Budgiedome, I had gone to last year. This night, to open the evening, We’re About 9 was playing. Since they hadn’t gotten a spot the bill this year, this was our only chance to catch them. They put on a great set, with many people singing along, but it was pretty cold (in the 50s) by the end and Jill was itching to get out of there. We got back to camp around 3AM and everything was dark. I got to sleep right away, but Jill was having trouble getting to sleep. The stragglers that came in at 4, turned on the lights and talked loudly kept her from getting to sleep until almost dawn, then it started getting noisy and hot by 8, so she didn’t get much rest.

Sunday we had to get up quickly, as Janice had to get her daughter to Blacksburg that night, and we were taking Stuart home. That meant we had to pack and give Janice our tent and sleeping bags to make room for Stuart. We broke down and packed quickly. Once done, we headed to the workshop stage to see the fiddlers playing together.

The thing I was most looking forward to at the festival was Girlyman and Eddie From Ohio performing together, and it happened twice on Sunday. First up was the “Gospel Wake Up Call”, which Eddie From Ohio has performed at all six years they’ve played the festival. This year’s was even better than last year’s, with everyone on stage harmonizing on just about every song. Jill and I got some lunch from the vendors after that (homemade brat for me, falafel for her). The food was good, but pricey ($7-8). We shared a lemonade as we ate under the dance tent in the shade. The sun was roasting and Jill was tired, so she decided to pass on the next workshop, “Our Roots Are Showing” with Aoife O’Donovan & Crooked Still, Tracy Grammer, Mark Erelli and Lucy Kaplansky. I had heard from Meg that Rushad Eggleston, the cello player from Crooked Still, was amazing, but this was ther first chance I had to see him strut his stuff, and she was right.

The final set we would see was the last one Girlyman and Eddie From Ohio would play, “Groovin’ On Sunday Afternoon”. The best part was a cover of the Band’s “The Weight”, with everyone trading verses. Unfortunately, it was the only song Jill saw, as she had come before the beginning of the set after napping some, and decided more napping was the priority. We may have to either get an RV or not sleep at the festival one night next year – she was not happy about the lack of sleep.

We headed back to camp, threw the rest of the gear in the car. We headed out, making another stop in Hudson for a couple cases of Magic Hat, then headed home. It was a smooth ride, and Stuart pointed us to the Harbor Tunnel in Baltimore to avoid the McHenry Tunnel (still one tunnel closed). We stopped at Nathan’s and Roy’s on the way back. We dropped Stuart off at home (two blocks away) and unpacked the car, then collapsed.

Today’s been catching up on everything including sleep. Jill especially, since she’s working 4 nights in a row. I watched the DNC convention tonight, but only Al’s and Bill’s speeches – got too much to do (including this). I finished updating my set lists, but I still have to upload the pictures I took. That’s next.