7/27/19. 8:16am. Cisco Grove, CA “Marriage, Kids, & Festivals.” “California Honeydrops.” “Sharing Dream-Space.”
Festy life is hard on the marriage sometimes. You’re leading two separate lives, at least in the eyes of your partner, that is if they don’t go to the fests with you. But, I have done so many of these that they’ve been a part of my life since my early 20s. It’s part of my identity now: festy-food-vendor.
It’s funny seeing the different levels of commitment to vending and how far and wide different vendors travel, what shows they hit, what makes their year. For all of them it’s a lifestyle choice, because you’re not gonna get rich and retire vending at fests, but you might make a good living and have a 4-month off-season to explore other interests. I don’t know how Shelby and I will do family at festivals. We say that we’ll bring our kids, but I don’t know if we will. Other festy-vendor-parents do and say it’s great. I think that it’s a family adventure and there’s certain shows that are better for kids and there are others that are not so much.
Saw Tim yesterday. He’s here with Cynthia. She’s doing puppet shows at the kids village. It’s good to see him just chilling at a festival at not having to grind it out. He’s works really hard at the others.
Tim often brings his son, Rune, to festivals with him. Rune is probably 7 or 8. I’ve often thought and expressed that festivals would be a great social education for a kid, and many parents I’ve talked with about it have seen that too. This festival, High Sierra, Jtree seem to have the highest ratio of families to overall attendance. Families that party together. The parents party, the kids party, it’s all good.
Now, waking up slow in the camper, sipping Yerba mate. J&C are opening the booth at 9. We all went out and saw the California Honeydrops last night. It was a party. The keyboard player has great stage presence and great hair. The frontman was great too. The drums and bass were pocket, rock solid, and made it groovy dance music. Steady, funky beats.
The Honeydrops are from Oakland, which although kinda getting gentrified now I hear, has a rich musical history to it.
After their set I went to bed, but J&C and Dobko stayed out. I like my sleep.
My dreams have been potent here. Can’t say what they’ve been about, because I don’t write them down right away upon waking. That’s what they say to do to recall dreams better. This river & forest play into my dreams and enhance them. Plus all the human souls that we are sharing dream-space with under the canopy of 100-foot cedars and sugar-pines must cause an effect.
The land is very dreamlike in its own way. The slopes travel up and away from the music bowl, where the vending and stage is, to the camping, yoga, and kids village. Find the yuba River 1/4 mile in the opposite direction flowing along the I-80 W, straightened during construction.
Birds are chirping outside the window now, the sun is out and the cedars are casting shadows. The sounds of the porta-potty doors slapping shut.
9:15am. “Sounds at Camp.” “Building a Village.” “Good for Weed & Good for Festivals.”
Now, I’m sitting in the camp chair at crew camp. Crew camp is not far from the booth. I hear songbirds, small sound systems, car doors shutting, murmurs of conversations, coughing, tent zippers…and there’s always the hum of small generators.
The MC from Joshua Tree Music Festival came by the booth last night and we had a convo, he said that at a festival, “we are building a village.” I agree. This feels like a village, but with the bittersweet impermanence of a festival. We’re nomads for the weekend. Some of us are for the season.
“The West is the Best,” for festivals. California especially, for a similar reason that it’s world-class land for cultivating weed, for the same cause of a regular wildfire season. It’s warm and dry here for half the year. Rain and heavy moisture will cause buds to go moldy and wreck a crop, end wildfire season, and turn a festival into a cold, damp swamp. This is my first season where I’ve had five festys in the Sierras at peak summer. Should be good vibes.
Belden Town, haven’t heard much from the coordinators but expect I will about a week out with details of the fest.
I smell the crepes trailer going, as well as, the Mexican trailer. And there’s the sound of our blenders going. We must be open for biz. I did a gentle yoga class yesterday, and it felt good to do. I think I’ll have a go again today. Must be getting close to that time.
5pm. “BOH.” “More Funk than Folk.” “Borrowing Beats & Baselines.” “George Michael.”
I’m sitting in the camp chair at the back of the booth. Technically, it would be called BOH, or back of house. It’s a slower festival as anticipated, but a really nice one. These are families and they plan meals with their RVs and dialed in camps. Maybe eating out here and there. Maybe Sunday picks up?
While the music is funky than folky, it reminds me a lot of Kate Wolf, which is a really great festival to attend, but not food vend. The fees are high and the biz is slow. I like working with Barnett. Hes got great taste in music and knows how to book a festival. He’s says that he “listens to a ton of music.”
Dobko and I were having a conversation about music this morning. The band onstage was covering Bob Dylan, The Doors, and maybe some Clapton. The question came up: why do bands choose to cover the 60s & 70s a lot but the 80s & 90s not so much?
When is it not ok to use another artists bassline, melody, or chord progressions for your own song? How similar can they be? Reggae does it all the time. Basslines, beats, and even chord progressions are borrowed over and over again.
I think that bands don’t play 80s songs as much as they do the 60s & 70s because those songs were so over-produced that they don’t translate well to live music. Ironically, the band onstage right now covers George Michael.