Monday, May 28, 2012

Saturday at Folk Life Fest

Dana and I went to Folk Life Fest on Saturday and it was hot, fun, and crowded. We were lucky enough to catch some Shelby Earl, I haven't seen her since West Seattle Fest a couple years ago. I really should pay more attention and catch her full act again, she's got a gorgeous sound and a fun presence and her songs made me happy. We also saw an amazing variety and quantity of pick-up bands busking all over the place, pretty much wall to wall music in little micro-climates.
Kids playing at the Mural Amphitheater:
Buskers! All over the place bands pick out little patches of space and start playing for tips and for the sheer fun of playing in public. Constellations of listeners gather round the better groups and you can hear an amazing variety of music with a different band every 20 or 30 feet.
Shortly after recording this I misplaced my camera, so that's it for video.

I heard some great twangy sounding stuff from bands on the main stage while Dana and I were over in the crowds in the vendor area, great music even though you couldn't see the band.
The Sun got hot and the crowds got larger.
If you stayed away from the food areas it wasn't as crowded, and for all the crowding it was pretty mellow. We took the dog and things were fine.
It got hot and sunny enough that I took the dog down through the fountain, cooling off with a blast of cold water as I ran through the bottom area with all the kids. You can see the damp spots on my clothes, and the pants and shoes were good and wet too. It made me feel much cooler and the dog liked it too.

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There were some human statues and some other odds and ends in terms of street performers sprinkled in here and there too:
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I managed to catch some additional good music, even if I didn't get any video.  NighTraiN at the Vera had an excellent groove going.LateMay 022
I think they played a Veracity gig at the Vera a year or more back, and I saw them at Reverb Fest too, I enjoy their shows.

As I said, there were all kinds of bands and buskers all over the grounds. I liked the drums in this one man band setup, he had one for each foot with a clever mechanism to hold the two drums and play them, one for each foot.
We also checked out many of the vendors which adds a visual element to the afternoon's entertainment. Dana really liked the Faerie wings and had me get a photo, and there many stalls with interesting crafts and arts. 
You know you got lucky on the weather when both fountains are packed and you're glad they're available. LateMay 026 
I was glad to see they had the Broad Street lawn set up as a stage, along with the Mural and the Fountain lawn and the Northwest Courts - 4 stages up there, two outside LateMay 029
...and the EMP Sky Church and the Center House (I didn't actually see any acts at the Sky Church or Center House though) so that's at least 9 official "programmed" stages and 50 or 60 unofficial busker locations all going at the same time. I'm pretty sure I'm leaving out additional programmed stages for dance music in the Exhibition Hall and other events in the various playhouses and stages and performance spaces around the Seattle Center.

It was a smorgasboard of music, walk from live act to live act, drinking in the music and performance, once you're satisfied with enough of this, wander over and get some of that. LateMay 032 Hundreds of buskers going at any one time, perhaps more than a thousand over the 4 days of the festival, and it's mostly spontaneous and self organizing. I wish I had more time and energy, and maybe a team, so we could go in and record 10 or 20 acts at a time and get 100 or more hours of video a day and actually semi-document what is going on in all it's variety and spontaneity. Nice fantasy, mostly caused by a desire to actually get to see more of the performances. At best I'll see a handful and just on the day I go, so inevitably I'll miss all kinds of good live music. At least I didn't miss it all!

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