So much more could be said about the Four Corners Folk Festival that Marla and I just attended. It truly was a beautiful event. I would have liked to blog more from the festival grounds, but my laptop battery was limited and in retrospect it was nice to have a couple of days without plugging in. I also didn’t want to be known as the geeky girl, always in front of a computer at one of the most happening parties ever.
The highlight of Saturday was attending the late night show at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. We left Ricky Skaggs early in order to acquire a good seat, which turned out to be a good move. The venue was the equivalent of a middle school gymnasium and we were in the third row.
First up was a band called MilkDrive. This Austin based group wasn’t one that I’d heard of before the festival, but their musical prowess was impressive. All four of these young men were extremely talented but I must say I had a soft spot for the guitarist Noah Jeffries. The way he looked and played reminded me of my son Dillon. I so wish he could have been there to see the show.
After MilkDrive it was time for Crooked Still. Their energy and musical ability created an experience for me that bordered on the spiritual. All of the band members seem like lovely human beings, which added a huge dose of charm to their nearly perfect sound. When I first heard their song Ecstasy several months ago it hit me on a very emotional level, so much so that I listened to it repeatedly for many days. I even dedicated an entire blog post to it. Often times I have trouble finding the words to describe how music makes me feel, and to say that hearing Crooked Still perform Ecstasy live, from the third row of a small venue was the highlight of my weekend is an understatement. I’m not really sure what it is about that song. Perhaps the low cello notes hit me on a cellular level.
The Infamous Stringdusters, along with musicians from all of the aforementioned bands wrapped up the evening around 1:00 AM. They took to the stage in a variety of combinations; four banjos, five mandolins, three guitars to name just a few. Watching the musicians interact and visually display their awe for one another gave me the sense that I was invited to an intimate party. They all seemed to be having a fabulous time.
One of the problems of being an aspiring musician is that I sometimes have a hard time just enjoying the work of other musicians without my incessant critical voice making me feel bad for not being as good as them. Somewhere along the way on Saturday night I lost that invalidating voice and accepted the gift the musicians were giving me without any strings of guilt or regret attached. In Kundalini Yoga there is a move called the Ego Eradicator. The term seems to apply in this situation as well. By the end of the evening I felt refreshed and inspired. My ego had been sufficiently snuffed away.
By early Sunday evening the official festival line-up was finished, which left us with a night of jamming with our new friends from Paonia and New Mexico. We played until around 2:00 and then found our way back to our tent for a few hours of sleep before the long drive on Tuesday. Sleep did not come easily with the sounds of music and laughter wafting around the festival grounds, and as I tossed and turned I thought of ways to bring some of the experience with me into my real world. It’s never easy to maintain the high after a great festival or a week of fiddle camp, but the friends made along the way, the exposure to new, invigorating music and the tunes that I learn keep me going until the next gathering. It’s addicting for sure, but in a good way.
For my take after the first night of the festival: