I trapsed southeastward through some familiar territory towards Oley. Thank goodness for GPS. I could leave the navigation to the satellite hovering above me and take in the rich September country. Again, barns, fields, a meandering two lane road and little traffic. I got the Keim Homestead outside of Oley with plenty of time to spare for my 4 pm set.
This was the inaugural attempt to create a music festival on this historic farmstead and Peggy and Eric did a lot to put together some fine music on two different stages. The main stage featured some friends from the Berks Co. area, including Kris and Juli Kehr as well as some other familiar faces. Peggy and Eric had set up a kids’ area on the other side of a small barn. It was protected from the sound of the other stage and, with some bales of hay, made a very comfortable arena.
I was preceded by a magician and another very good children’s musician and book writer. It was great to see someone who had kids’ chops, an ease with the kids and adults and a slightly skewed sense of humor. At one point, he handed out colorful underwear for folks to put on their heads and did a great underwear song he had written. Great stuff.
I finished out the day’s entertainment to a nice group of kids, older folks, moms. They all took the bait and played instruments, sang and danced along. I was delighted with the response and I was able to almost control one overactive boy who I could see had boundary issues. It took some energy to point him in the right direction several times, but, for the most part, it worked. Always a challenge or two.
I packed up and high-fived all the kids. Quite a difference from the counterculture festival a few hours before, to the rural barnyard of an old Pennsylvania farmstead.
The folks at the festival were pleased with this initial effort and Peggy and Eric were told by the powers-that-be that the festival will happen again next year. I was glad to help them out with a low fee and a good show.
The trip back to Bethlehem took me down some very familiar roads I had traveled 40 years ago when I played at the Cherry Festival on these very same grounds so long ago. A very good end to a long trip through Schuylkill and Berks Counties on a perfect late September afternoon.