It is pretty unique to experience these two workshops back to back, with little time to think. Perhaps that’s why it works.
Having walked off a great reception at the Tank Stage, I head to Dulcimer Grove, known to myself as the Death Valley of Family Folk performers. Situated on a path between the active Camp Stage and the main grounds, in a delightful glade (praise shade), it has been a woefully in-atiquate stage situation.
They finally put in a real stage (not two plywood planks) and a better sound system (though not quite professional), so it was better than I expected. The problem continues to be the fact that it’s between two major stages, and this stage’s sound is supposed to be ‘mellow’.
There were a few families parked there, and a great stage manager mom with her daughters and friends at the start. I immediately broke out The Bag and did ‘I Like Peanut Butter’. This continues to be a good, energetic way to start, and, hopefully, convince people that this is not your usual folk music concert. Gasp…..
Again, at Philly, there are adults who are willing to take a chance. I also handed out noses to the Dads. A small but mighty audience.
As I settled in, my daughter Rosalie arrived and sat down with Cory. I knew she would be here, but had hoped she’d make it for the Pete set. I was tickled to see her. I continued on.
So, I launched into Rosalie, Where are You Going?” and asked her to come up and do her part from the album. She bounded up and we did it together. This will be a personally wonderful moment between us. I excused her from the stage by saying that she had played the Philly Folk Fest. That’s legacy.
I did Giants with two shy girls and it continues to be a great device to invest the audience in my show.
As I worked through the set, there were some active and participatory girls who came up on the lip of the stage in front of me, playing rhythm instruments and off we went, dancing and singing in this delightful grove, as other fest-goers passed by on their way to one stage or another.
One very young girl had a yellow guitar and she joined the older girls on stage as they were dancing, and I ‘gave’ her a guitar solo. She was topless (hippy parents, ya know) so it was pretty funny. I invited anyone else to come up and play topless, but there were no takers. Actually, a nice cultural moment for all of us as we celebrated Innocence.
A special moment during We Gave Names to the Animals: a very cherished Philly alto sax player Ken Ulansey, who has played Godfrey’s from the very beginning, offered to come up for a song. So I launched into Names, implicitly trusting Kenny’s instincts, and confident he could do wonders on this one. He did. As I went through various animals, he came up with exquisite and playful sounds that mimicked the animal I was doing. It was electric for me and for him, as he playfully chuckled at my choices. Again, this was a rare opportunity to connect musically with a good Philly friend like I never had done before.
I was able to engage young families, some good friends in the audience, the stage crew of teenage girls and play to my one and only Rosalie at the Philly Folk Fest. Deep stuff that I’ll remember.
It was a back-to-back performance situation that was unlike what I had done before. Great energy.
Upon finishing, I got to spend time with Rosalie and Cory, introduce her to my many friends. She got to see a spectacular set by Janis Ian, and we reminisced about the time she was here when she was around ten years old.
She and Cory split for CT, and I took in the amazing guitarist Tommy Emanuel and headed back to Bethlehem to try to rest for a busy Sunday at the Fest.