First off, I apologize to all artwalk customers who were rushed out of the store at 8:15 pm during the First Friday of September. Scott and I were already wearing our "gold" wristbands and we had plans to see the 9:15 show of James McMurtry at the 17th annual Sisters Folk Festival.
We started this big festival weekend by securing a spot in Sisters for our little Cowgirl Cash trailer on Monday. We had already made arrangements for our kids, so we were free to roam around Sisters and hear non-stop music for the weekend.
James McMurtry performed at the Village Green. This was the heart of the festival. The Village Green is located on the corner of Elm St. just south of the downtown "drag" across from the beautiful fire station. They had a huge white tent set up and hundreds of chairs. This venue was reserved for head liners and designated as a "listening" venue. If you wanted to dance there were other venues waiting. That however, did not stop festival goers from heading to the front of the stage and shaking their booty to a few McMurtry songs. I learned that people come and go from venues in order to see all of the artists they want to see. I was glad we stayed for the last of James McMurty because his final song, "We can't make it here" was memorable.
Scott and I were hungry after working at the store and rushing to Sisters so we headed to the Melvin's Market location. The store (Melvin's) was open and adjacent to another beautiful white tent. We bought some snacks and a Deschutes IPA on draft, and stood at a tall table and enjoyed our second act, Hobbs. Hobbs had the venue dancing. The people watching was fabulous and the music was even better. After we ate, and got a feel for how this festival worked we were ready for another venue.
We headed to Angeline's Bakery. Angeline's is a must stop for us anyway. We love this bakery. The line was long, and there were other choices so we headed around the corner to the Depot Cafe. The Depot is the sandwich stop on the west end of town. I was unprepared for the stage they had set up in back. Deck, dropped down to grass, set-up with chairs for the perfect amphitheater feel. The stage was a finely crafted work of art. Twinkly lights, and an intimate setting made this a magical venue. We saw Taarka here. Scott referred to them as the "string" portion of the festival. They had a unique and beautiful sound. We made it back to our trailer a little after midnight. End of Day 1.
We had hauled our bikes to Sisters for a ride on the Peterson Ridge Trail. The music didn't really get started until noon so we had our coffee and got a nice mountain bike ride in. First stop when we got back: Slick's Que Co. We had been told to see Jeffrey Martin. He played his guitar along with a beautiful singer, Anna? We ate, listened, people watched. One of my favorite features of a folk festival is the quick format. 45 minutes an artist. We stayed at the barbecue joint to see Hobbs again. We had heard him plugged in and rocking and we wanted to hear him unplugged. This kid is young, and charming, really good, and a Sisters resident.
The next stop was a "must see" for me. Slaid Cleaves on the Village Green. Customers sometimes pass on good music to me. James McMurtry and Slaid Cleaves are two of these artists. Slaid was not a disappointment. Great sound, an adoring audience, and one captivating song after another.
At 3:30 we took a break and at 4:30 we had "cocktails" in the grassy square where we were camped with some other friends. Everyone pulled out their guacamole, nuts, crackers, cheese, and booze, and we enjoyed great conversation and perfect weather. 6:00 was showtime. Scott and I raced to Angeline's again knowing we may have to wait in line. I wanted to see Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. They had been featured as a "band to watch" in the Source. Our wait was about 15-20 minutes. We were able to see them, hear them, and see Angeline's beautiful little venue.
We were on bikes and our next stop was minutes...maybe seconds away, at Sisters Art Works. We went there to hear Mary Gauthier (pronounced Go Shay) but came in for the last two song of Keith Greeninger. He brought down the house. When Mary took the stage she said "I didn't know I coming on after Bruce Springsteen". That pretty much sums up Keith's style, and Mary's wit.
After Mary we moved up as close to the stage as we could to see David Jacobs-Strain and the Crunk Mountain Boys. I'd seen David before, but this band was a treat. I'm officially a BIG fan.
"Late Night" for Scott and I was Melvin's Market to see Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three. Our timing allowed us to see a few songs of John Fullbright. This guy was amazing. He had this "dance" venue mesmerized. His piano playing, his voice, and the lyrics captivated. Like most of these artists he will be a "must see" anytime he comes through Oregon. Pokey has a sound like no other. Ragtime, cartoon, rockabilly, dance. I'm no music expert of course, but this band was really unique and a treat to watch and dance to.
Again we were in bed shortly after midnight. I had big plans for Sunday at 9...
I had read on facebook that Shine Global was part of a yoga challenge that was taking place in Sisters. I love yoga, but this was my music weekend. What grabbed me, was that Shirin Amini was playing for the practice. Lovely! At 9 am I placed my mat on the grass in front of Live.Love.Yoga and had a blissful experience.
I biked from that transforming event to the best church service I've ever been to. Artist after artist came out singing one beautiful; song after another. Catie Curtis, Seth Glier (Let it be), Abigail Washburn singing and "buck dancing" on stage, Jude Johnstone, Moe Dixon, and finally 1 1/2 hours later, Keith Greening had the whole Village Green tent on their feet singing...Every Little things, Gonna be alright. Whew.
There was more music to be enjoyed, but there was also a trailer to take home, kids to pick up, and work and school to prepare for. Sisters Folk Festival; we will be back.