|K'ville 2003 - Blair & Lendell's Kerrville Folk Festival Stories|
Kerrville Folk Festival 2003
Well, this was my 18th year of attending the Festival. Although the Festival officicially lasts 18 days, I was there for 26 days this year-camping out in my van. The main purpose of being there early was to secure our area for Camp Calm. This year, we had a total of 68 people camping with us. Some people only stayed for a weekend, a week or two, and many were there for the entire 18 days. What follows might be considered as reports from the campgrounds. I'll leave the music reviews for the professionals. It must be noted is that these stories are not in chronological order.
This was the first festival under new management and it showed. Dalis Allen did a great job on the line-up and the Kerr-staff and volunteers did a great job. All the hard work put in during the off season by the Festival and Quiet Valley Ranch Boards really showed. Everything I saw or heard indicated a high degree of professionalism and unity towards the common goal of putting on a great festival, without the screaming and yelling associated with the previous management. Kudos are due to all. In the words of Rod Kennedy, The magic is back.
I suppose the main concern of Camp Calm was the loss of Jim Ross in April. We had a memorial service at Poetry Rock in Camp Calm on the second Saturday of the festival. Jim's wife (Betty), son (Rel), daughter (Vicki), her husband (Greg) and grandchildren were in attendance, as was Nancylee Kennedy. Many friends of Jim's said some words or related a story, and many musicians offered songs. We planted a tree (Mexican Sycamore) for Jim in a good location outside the women's outhouses and close to the road. That way, Jim can yell at people to slow down and talk to the girls at the same time. I hope the memorial service offered some solace to his family. I do know that some of them are coming back. (Kervertted)
It would not be Kerrville without discussing the weather. Briefly stated there was some, and the great part is that the stage music was not affected, nor was the size crowds. There was heat, cold, dry, wet, calm and windy. All the rain and cold came late at night and early in the morning. The winds had their own agenda. At one point the winds were estimated at 60 70 mph. It played havoc with tents and canopies. It really pays to use the long nail-like stakes and stake down everything everywhere you can. Otherwise, you will see your tent out on in the campgrounds flying around seeking other tents of like mind. There were reports of two canopies and a quonset hut being dismantled by the winds and of one brave camper trying to hold one down and becoming airborne (camper) and hurled into a tree. No damage to the tree, thank goodness. Camp Calm had three tents collapse (plastic stakes) and lost one canopy to broken poles. It was reported that Camp Cohos canopy was kept from blowing away by members of Coho holding onto the poles and they were singing sea shanties! The biggest damage occurred at the Main Stage, where the winds twisted the scaffolding holding up the speakers. Due to the potential of the scaffolding collapsing, the speakers were lowered to ground level, which resulted in the front row on left and right to be empty most of the time. It may have caused some sound problems due to the new configuration.
Judy, Judy, Judy. This years headliner was Judy Collins. She brought in a good crowd. However, the things she required (probably in her contract) from the Festival caused quite a stir. It is good to be King (or Queen). To put it mildly, she got the royal treatment. Her performance was good, according to those who attended.
The Dixie chicks were on the ranch this year. No, not Natalie and the others, but there were 3 southern hens hanging out in the campgrounds. No one claimed ownership. They seem to love pasta. I suppose that since they didn't have a name, the festival couldn't call them pets (no pets are allowed). All 3 of them were browsing under our kitchen canopy one morning. They left without even leaving an egg.
After an early morning rain, part of the lower meadow turned into a quagmire, as it usually does. Let the games begin! First up was the mud wrestling contest. Don't think anyone ever wins this event. It just keeps going until everyone gets tired. Next came the soccer game which went on for awhile. It was tough to score due to the lack of goal posts okay, between the green & yellow Eureka tent and the red suburban with the dented fender? The brown team won! I, personally, gave up competitive sports years ago when I found out that you could just buy the trophies.
The Crows Nest is on the side of a mountain that overlooks the meadow. Many campsites are located up there and the wind played havoc with many of them. Brian QTN camps up there and was the creator of the cheer of the year Sun God, Sun God, Ra, Ra, Ra. This year, a man evidently had some difficulty in locating his tent. His wife became pretty vocal over him being in another woman's tent must have been the darkness.
There are many annual events on the Ranch that you will not find listed in the official brochure. Probably the oldest is Javier Cortezs Fajita Thursday. The last few years he has added musical entertainment to supplement the fine dining experience. Poetry Night at Camp Calm was started 13 years ago by Tim Mason (Boston) and yours truly. It has evolved from one night to both Tuesday nights and 3 Sunday afternoons. The spoken word (sometimes a song) along with orderves (those things you eat with your fingers). On the appropriate day, the Kerdigras parade makes its way though the campgrounds, complete with decorated golf carts, the trash truck, kids and adults in costumes or painted up and tossing beads. Maybe next year someone will take along a video camera Kerrverts Gone Wild. The Texas Watermelon Massacre happens on Sunday, but which one I don't know. Steve Brooks is the lead instigator, and the melon goes for a good cause cold food This event too, creates a parade, as many try to save the melon. Don't want to forget The Trailer Park Trash Corndog Cook-off. An event guaranteed to get the cholesterol level up to snuff. For desert this year, they served up deep fried twinkies. I think that this is the same group that hosts a wine tasting during the Wine & Music Festival. However, in their competition any wine that has a cork is prohibited.
And then there was the slumber party at Camp Calm that got out of control. Jamie has a teddy named Bear. Although Bear hails from San Francisco, hes pretty straight laced. I have two beanie babies (Piece Bear& Peace Bear) that have always been docile. At least while I was around. Jamie agreed to allow mine to stay over with Bear in her pop-up. I'm ashamed to say, but my bears instigated a drug & sex orgy with Bear. The 4 lines (nutrasweet) were a give away, but the condom and the brown paper was the clincher. Evidently my bears confused the Folk Festival with Woodstock 68. Profuse apologies were made to Jamie; Piece & Peace were severely reprimanded and are currently in rehab.
All in all, it was one of the best festivals I've ever been to. Made a lot of new friends, and saw some old friends who came out that we weren't expecting, and helped Kerrvert some others. I'll be back there next year. Still haven't won the guitar raffle yet.
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