First hand reviews of the 2003 Kerrville Folk Festival2003 Kerrville Folk Festival Ramblings -- First Hand Reviews and Photos

Kerrville Folk Festival. Kerrville Ramblings: It Can Be This Way Always

Reviews of the 2003 Kerrville Folk Festival



May 22nd - June 8th
















K'ville 2003 - Denise's kerrvirgin experience


Hi Brian,

This is of the kerrvirgins that you shared your terrific bread with around every corner. Thanks! It was always Delicio! And I gotta thank you and yours once again for the website ramblings. It goes without saying that my experience would not have been the same without your shared insights. Since it was my first year at the festival and I didn’t know where to go, what to do or what to expect, the ramblings helped me get my bearings and convinced me that beyond a shadow of a doubt, I would find wonderfully rare experiences at the ranch. That I did!

In case you’re interested in sharing just a smidgen of this virgin’s experiences....

My first day at the festival was day 2...I went by myself and didn't know a soul there (at least not consciously). Of course it didn’t take long to experience what Kerrville is all about. Being an artist myself (muralist, painter, designer and decorator) I love being around creative people, so I was just blown away by the intensity of so many talented and loving people in one place. And it was easy to see that it was the absolute best music deal around!!!

Although I made new friends that evening, the first few days I more or less stayed in the shadows observing, or walking around looking for some of the campsites you had mentioned (I would have paid good money for a map...and a shady spot to call my own). I came home daily to check on my dog and take advantage of a warm shower and a cool nap (living 30 minutes away from the ranch definately has it’s advantages). Then midweek I got the crud that was going around, on my birthday of all days, and after I pushed myself through most of the next weekend’s festival I decided that I better stay at home to recoup. Actually I was thinking that I was through with my Kerrville experience for the first year so I packed up my camp that second Sunday (day 11) and came back to my little country nest that I love so much (between Medina and Bandera).

Guys...this is such a wonderful place to live...all year round! But, by no means does that mean that I could put the festival behind me so easily. After all, it wasn’t over yet! Even though I was still zapped of energy and not feeling at my best, I wanted to be there. I kept going back to the computer for more 2003 updates from you guys...and finding myself looking at my bracelet thinking “what a waste”...or looking at my schedule to see what was going on at that particular time. Or rather...what I was missing out on at that time. There was no doubt that the spirit of the festival was calling out to me and my young heart was telling what felt like an old body to get my butt up because it would be a whole year before this level of magic would come around again. So I gave in to the magnetic pull and returned to the ranch for an evening at Threadgill. Before the first set was over I knew I would somehow find an ample supply of energy and wellness because I just had to be back the next day to set up camp for the remainder of the festival. I had no choice...cause there’s just no sense in missing out on all that music and all that fun and all that potential for making more new friends! If that kinda stuff don’t cure what ails ya...nothing will!

By the way...I had also been hoping earlier that day that I would meet the breadman and his honey, so I was delighted when I found myself sitting right next to you and Ellen at Threadgill that Tuesday evening...especially since you had mentioned in the ramblings that you always sat in the back and we were in the front row that night (There’s that Kerrville magic thing.) Thanks for making me feel comfortable and inviting me to Camp Coho. Although I didn’t take you up on the offer that night, I really didn’t want to leave the ranch either. Walking back to the parking lot was incredibly hard and if my tent would have still been in my car, I wouldn’t have left. But the bread fix on the way home warmed my heart and made it all okay. What’s in that stuff anyway?

I didn’t waste any time the next day finishing up the bread and loading up ample supplies, including plenty of herbs and vitamins, (and even antibiotics - which I never do but this was an emergency). I also swung through the other city of Kerrville to buy more cotton dresses before returning to the ranch. (A good tip to share with other Kerrvirgins - bring lots of loose fitting cotton clothes...and earplugs!) Although I knew I would miss my old campsite next to the Rouse’s, I decided to venture out and set up camp in the meadow. I made friends with my new neighbor within minutes. What a blessing we were for each other...two middle aged single ladies camping alone. (That magic thing again.) My new friend Shiela shared a bit about how she had witnessed things flying through the air during the previous night’s storm and warned me as I was setting up my screen house that it might be sacrificed by the wind gods, but that was okay with me. It didn’t take long to test that. After parking my car and walking back to camp, as I turned the corner I saw it go down. It came right back up though, with the help of a friend that I had met the weekend before that just happened to be passing by at that moment. Then along came another neighbor who volunteered to secure things even more. Ya gotta love Kerrville! Then...we discovered about 5 a.m. the next morning that our campsites were right in the path of what used to be a river. Ha can’t fool mother nature. Shiela was in the torrentially wet path of that Kerrville storm. Luckily she had what others called the Taj Mahal tent - complete with a back door...which came in real handy since the 3” deep river could just run through the tent instead of carrying it all off! >From then on her campsite was dubbed “A River Runs Through It”. My fondest memory is seeing Sheila standing in the darkness of her doorway at the beginning of that storm while calling out to me “Denise, do you want to come in here?” (She was afraid I was going to float away in my little pup tent.) An hour later I was calling out to her “Sheila do you want to come in here?’s dry”. Bigger is certainly not always better. The next day we acquired more new neighbors to dam things up...lo and behold it’s none other than Trout Fishing in America and their friends and family. How appropriate! Ya gotta love Kerrville!

Rain, wind or water, it was all a wonderful experience! The sense of family/community just kept getting more and more real for me as time went on. Actually, it was all way beyond wonderful! Overall, I usually found myself wanting to be in at least five different places at the same time, which I’m sure is commonplace, and even though my body was always telling me to lay down by 1 or 2 a.m., I never wanted to for fear of missing something else. Actually, several times I made myself crawl in the tent for much needed sleep only to feel that magnetic pull of incredible street music happening just down the road... 3 a.m. or not, I had to get up...I had no choice...just couldn't miss it. And then there were those other times (when the earplugs were in) that new friends knocked on my tent in the wee hours telling me I was missing out. No choice there either...I certainly couldn't miss those bonding moments. Or the shared sunrises. By the last few days I had finally learned not to even bother with changing into sleeping clothes...I just stayed dressed and ready to go!

I also can’t help but think about the Ballad tree circle on Chapel Hill on day 18. David Lomotte touched my heart. This is a guy that truly has it together and what a privilege it was to be there that afternoon as he shared his music and his so-called sermon. My feelings exactly David. Creativity is the essence of life and we are all at the helm! And it was easy to see that what he shared with the 10yr old star was a culmination of many Godly moments. What an inspiration he is! It’s obvious that love and light surrounds David and easily connects to all those around him, and oh what a blessed one it will be that ends up by his side as a life partner. Hmmmmm.

And who was that other guy I found myself kissing on Chapel Hill during day 19’s sunrise? Hmmmm. That’s not like me at all! But he sang like an angel too...I just couldn’t resist!!! Oooh la was in the air!

And one more memory to share... Even though I was still kind of goo goo from that last sunrise experience and the 4 a.m. tequila shots (which I had not done in many many years), I recognized the lady that sat in the next potty stall on the morning of day 19 as one that I had heard sing many times at Camp Stupid. I didn’t hesitate to thank her and share with her how I loved her music and her energy, and she didn’t hesitate to tell me all about how Kerrville is the only place that she can muster the courage and relax enough to let her music flow, and how much it meant to her to know that it was appreciated. We exited the stalls, hugged each other, she thanked me profusely, I thanked her again and next year I know that we will become friends. Potty stall or not, it was a moment for both of us and a wonderful way to end the festival. You gotta love how things flow at Kerrville!

OMG I miss everyone so much already! And as I’m sure is the norm, I'm having withdrawals ...missing the ranch, the stage performances, the new friends, the music circles, the street performers, the creative energy that just never stops flowing, and of course the community of all those kerrverts that I never met but saw around the campground over and over. And although I did finally make it to Camp Coho, I missed out on you and Ellen being there. But, it will be at the top of my list to visit with you guys next year...for sure. I’ll bring the almonds, Ellen. Hopefully, you will share your music with me.

As the “other world” beckons and I share some of my experiences with friends who have never done the Kerrville thing, it still amazes me (and them) that in our day and time thousands of people can live within a few feet of each other in the loving and creative spirit of peace and harmony. How could one not be changed by the experience? could anyone not want to go back the next year, and the next...and the next...and the next...

And just how long does it take to get back in the rut of going to sleep without one of our new c.d.’s playing?

Til next year, Love and peace to all,

Denise Cunniff


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