The WSPA and I managed to leave Ames only about 3 hours later than originally planned ... or about when I thought we would actually get out of town. The trip was uneventful, even if it was a little slow here and there (MN doing it's best to fix the improvements made in the roads by the wonderful weather up there).
We got to the festival site, said hi to a few folks and went off to get the tent set up. nainian and WSPA2 did most of the work, but WSPA3 and I did our share.
We grabbed a bite to eat and settled in to watch some of the Friday night band. I had listened to some of the music on Levee Town's MySpace page, and was kind of dreading seeing them. The stuff on there is pretty dire. Live is a totally different thing. Great blues/rockabilly/rock and roll. They're great musicians and a ton of fun in front of an audience.
It started to rain shortly after dark, so we decided to retreat to the campground and get some sleep. It was a nice idea. As the rain started to get heavier, so did the wind, which made the tent do all kinds of interesting things and make all kinds of interesting noises. I think I was up till about 2.
We managed to haul ourselves out of bed around 9 and surveyed the damage. It was decided to make a trip up the road to get more tent stakes (some had gone missing since our last camping trip) and then get some breakfast. By the time we got back and re-staked the tent (which had developed some serious sags) and roused Isaac and Claire, we ended up getting lunch. This was one of the themes for the weekend, the other being weather doing it's best to mess up my weekend.
We got back in time to catch the noon start of the songwriting contest. Or we would have if the songwriting contest had started at noon, instead we got back in time to catch the second hour of the songwriting contest, which had started at 11. I found out that once again I was last AND I found that I had indeed made it onto last years disc with a hyper version of Pine City Motel Blues. More on that later.
The day was wonderful except for the occasional bursts of heavy rain. That weather thing again. The first time it took them about 15 minutes to get everything covered up, the numerous other times it took less and less time, till finally it was generally done in about a minute.
The Moose Town Crier is posting everything over the next few days, or at least one song by each songwriter. There is also an interview with me there as well as a lot of background on the festival.
As always I agreed with most of the winners (with one HUH?). My new song went over well, and I was going to follow it up with Hides, just cause I wanted to do it, but the weather stopped me and by the time it cleared up it was decided (mostly by me) that it was best to just move along.
The late afternoon/early evening entertainment was a Mahtowa super group of sorts consisting of Colleen Myhre, a wildly talented singer/songwriter, one of the sweetest people in the universe, and wife of Jim, who runs the festival, Tony Peterson, who is also just way to talented for someone his age and the Kettle River Trio. I nicknamed them the Colleen River Tony, but I don't expect that to stick. They were marvelous. They were followed by a bluegrass band named The Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins, another band who needs to update their music on MySpace.
Sometime around 10 the tired set in, so we headed to the tent. It was supposed to get down into the 50s, so I had sleeping bags, sweatpants and sweatshirts for the WSPA to sleep in, and my usual camping rig for me. The problem was that it ended up in the lower 40s around 1 am. I know the time, cause that was when I woke up in the first stages of hypothermia. I woke up nainian and told him that I was heading up to Cloquet to get something better to sleep in. I don't think I have ever really wanted a Wal Mart to be open all night, but I really did that night. They were, and I bought two cheap sleeping bags (I don't fit into one generally), zipped them together in the WM parking lot (since it's seriously dark in the camping area) and headed back. I know I slept well after that since the neighbors made fun of my snoring the next morning.
We tore down the tents the next morning and were on the road by noon (after missing the breakfast shift again). The trip back was easier than the trip up, but there were still some stops on the way.
There was a lot of talk about this being the last year of the festival. The songwriting contest prizes come mostly from grants, which have dried up in the last year. It's a lot of work by very few people. I hope that it survives. I talked to a lot of folks about it. Some were hopeful, some not. I did threaten Jim as I was leaving. I told him that if the festival went away, I would still show up at his house the first weekend of August and expect to spend the weekend playing music.
Oh, I'm going to come up with some sort of contest, and make a few of last years CDs the prizes. Expect that in a day or so, or maybe today even if I get the time.