I made it up to Altamont, NY and the Old Songs Festival on Friday, checked in at the motel and headed off to the fair grounds. I got to the performers check-in, got my name tag, food stubs and, amazingly, I got my check for the weekend even before I played! That alone was remarkable.
I headed over to ‘Creature Comforts’, the performers and volunteers’ food area and dined on pot roast, garlic potatoes and ice cream. There is an incredible volunteer system in place and part of the very smooth and friendly atmosphere that permeates this festival. Dedicated volunteers and audience as well.
I wasn’t scheduled to play until Saturday and Sunday so I could take in the Friday evening concert on the main stage at my leisure. The emcee Matt Watroba was wonderful, mixing in tunes and comfortable chat in between the 20 minute sets, setting a very warm tone for the crowd in the grove. I had a chance to talk with him during the intermission and I complimented him on his style. I referred to my experiences at Philly in the same situations, and we connected there. Not everyone can do it, and he did it well.
The evening featured, as did the whole festival, a wide assortment of folk styles, including a Native American storyteller, a NC ballad singer (seventh generation), a smooth contemporary folk trio, a superb solo folk singer and songwriter, a delightful British singer, a young Welsh band, a West Coast female solo songwriter and a kick-ass folk band at the end. The grove was filled with hard-core folkies, the moon was out on a beautiful upstate NY evening and it was simply perfect.
I headed back to the motel looking forward to my three sets the next day in this delicious atmosphere.