|view out front porch of RV zone|
I asked about my "RV parking pass" and the woman told me to find Jeremy in a golf cart. He would know what to do. Ok... pretty casual outfit we've got here. I got my festival wrist band and an over-21 band for the bars inside and walked back over to Hapy. As usual, he fired right up, and we puttered over to where I could see the RV's parked. As I rolled past the RV parking gate, Jeremy pulled up in his golf cart. I explained I didn't want to take up too much room, he smiled and we quickly agreed on a level spot (the whole property, except the entrance, is flat) along the western edge backed into a grove of trees. I was parked, pop-top up and wrestling with the canopy by 7:50. 20 minutes from pulling in the entrance to having my will-call tickets and camping set up started. So far, I'm thrilled.
Hapy cub-inet) in it's "standing short" configuration with the stove on top of it and the milk crates set beneath/inside, and then the regular folding-camping table. This was a nice and tight configuration where I could prep meals on the folding table, cook and have extra counter space from the top of the top cooler. In order to get food, I had to pull the top cooler off, but this arrangement, with the cold cooler on the bottom, allowed me to last 4 days in the high desert in the summer with only one purchased bag of ice.
I only used our small square rug outside the bus. The grass was green and soft, so I didn't need to protect my bare feet from sharp owie grass like we often find at 4Peaks. This left me the grey carpet to put on the floor of the bus, covering the lot couch seat-rails. I set up the LED lights, pulled out the soundbar and MP3 player for music when the stages weren't blowing and set up my new extendable flag pole (Harbor Freight), with my new custom-made 4Peaks flag.
Zamp Solar, a local Bend company who makes 25-year warranty portable solar panels. Once the money no longer needs to go into keeping Hapy running, I'll be getting one of their panels. He had their smallest one, but they mostly camp in central Oregon. I think I would probably need the next size up since we camp where there actually are clouds.
Friday afternoon, new neighbors (Tony and Alisa) arrived from Oakridge in a minivan. They brought 4 kids with them, all between 14 and 17 years old, who set up a cluster of tents up behind the cars in the longer grass. A better mannered group of teenagers I've never seen. I found myself hanging out with this family quite a bit over the next few days, sharing food and stories. On Saturday afternoon, I took a walk with a subset of them to a swimming hole about 1/2 a mile away. Unlike most of the rivers and streams I've seen in Oregon, this water was warm like a New England lake in August. I was expecting typical mountain run-off which gives you an ice cream headache if you get in too fast or deeper than your ankles.
|Pigs on the Wing at sunset|
Since this was held as a benefit, there were a few anomalies. For example, a long section of tables were set in the middle of the vendor area where there was a weekend-long silent auction. All of the items in the auction were donated by the vendors in exchange for the right to vend, rather than being charged a fee. This created an environment where there were LOTS of vendors, each with only a 10x10 space. This more egalitarian approach created a very different vibe. I hadn't realized how hard some folks drove for sales until Newberry where no one was really working that hard. There were some beautiful things, of course, but, seriously, the vendors almost seemed to prefer hanging out and talking about stuff instead of trying to sell anything. For example, there was a woman selling tie-dyes who talked to me about her ice technique for making the dye lines crispy and only indicated merchandise to illustrate the point.
There were 2 stages, with the stage entrance in between. Like most events, while one stage was performing, the other was breaking down and setting up. Once a performance finished, the new stage would quickly set sound levels and then there would be announcements. Every time. The announcements usually ran a similar format: thank the last performer, mention the silent auction, perhaps have a 50/50 raffle and then introduce the next performer. The 50/50 raffle was interesting. Every time I saw a ticket get pulled, it was for someone different, of course, but each time the winner would donate their winnings to the benefit. The last one, on Sunday, was for something like $2700US. That's pretty humbling, and showed where this festival's goers had their priorities. Maybe every winner didn't donate, but all of the tickets I saw called did.
|Tal with dancing little girl|
Broken Down Guitars - really good. very strong female vocal. Ended a 90 minute set with 2 Jefferson Airplane songs. Such a gutsy move, but she completely nailed it.
Newberry Family Band - okay bar band
Pete Kartsounes- voice sounded like Jorma
J Brothers - okay. opened with a Doors cover; played Gregg Allman tunes. keyboard-driven, but vocals were really overdone
Rad Trads - lots of sound for 5 guys on the small stage but loud enough to drown out the RV generator across the way. middle-of-the-road horn-infused rock, but good at that.
Dodgy Mountain Men - banjo-less bluegrass, but add a harmonica. As the band finished, 3 deer ran past the edge of the campZone and settled down in a cluster of trees maybe 50 meters away from Hapy.
Indubious - took forever to set up. drone-y bass and keyboard with high energy drums and vocals. hard to pin down their genre but I was distracted by watching the deer.
Pigs on the Wing - wow. 20 minute version of Echoes. Incredible sound-match with improvisation. Main male vocalist shouted out his voice somehow, but the female vocal on "Great Gig in the Sky" brought tears. Literally. Their performance made all of the travel difficulties worthwhile. This group was simply incredible; I will go out of my way to see them again.
Natty Red - from the name I expected reggae, but got something like the Tree Frogs: rump-shaking hippie shuffle beat that could have used a more pre-funk'd crowd.
|Pigs on the Wing again|
Pat Simmons, Jr - had a prom slow-dance or KINK-artist vibe. Kinda plain. Harmless, but meh.
Idle Poets - straight forward rock to start with, but then drifted into some 70's lounge stuff. Kinda odd. I missed 1/2 the set to hike to the swimming hole.
Vokab Kompany - very cool. horn infused modern dance/rap with live musicians and a rap artist. The kids next door loved them so much they got merch.
Belly Dancers - I think this was a local troupe. It was interesting.
Tal Wilkenfeld - beautiful voice and amazing bass work but had issues with the sound at first. Then, she changed basses between most songs and had to re-tune each time so the set wasn't very cohesive. She was really good though and would definitely see again... indoors where there aren't temperature changes messing with her tune. She pulled kids up on stage to dance with her, and her presence on stage was simply awesome. She would sing a nice song and appear all 'fitting into the female mold' and then do something harder and get face to face with the guitarist and head-bang all that curly hair while just going for it on that bass. Really so much fun to be part of; she was awesome.
Dead Horses - traditional (old skool) country with beautiful harmonies from a simple 3-piece.
Eric Leadbetter - heavy rock approaching metal. Great vocals, drums. Should have gotten a Saturday spot, IMHO.
Lounge on Fire - horn supported guitar-heavy funk.. ish. Really groovin; they would hit a pocket and just ride it. Left the festival before they finished, but not because of them.. I was concerned about my drive home.
Well, that's it for the festival report. Next, I'll post about the drive home. Yes, I split the drives into 2 because, well, there were adventures both ways. Thanks, as always, for following along-