From the Ithaca Journal yesterday: TRUMANSBURG — The GrassRoots Festival began in 1990 as a small concert to benefit a local AIDS support group. Seventeen years later, it's listed as one of the 10 best outdoor music festivals in the country by USA Today.
Megan Romer, festival marketing director, said it was “a huge honor” to be named in the “10 Great” list by the newspaper on July 6.
“Especially to be mentioned in such company. I mean, the Newport Festival where Bob Dylan went electric, and the Santa Fe Opera Festival,” she said.
The other outdoor festivals picked by the paper were Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass., the Aspen Music Festival, the San Francisco Blues Festival, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, The Quebec City Summer Festival, Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wis., and the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Su
"Tom Clynes, author of “Music Festivals From Bach to Blues,” said of GrassRoots: “Four days and nights of African, zydeco, old-time Appalachian and rock bring the Finger Lakes region roaring into summer...With four stages and lots of room for dancing, the event has managed to maintain a volunteer-based, grass-roots feel while pulling in the top rank of musicians from several genres. A laid-back, dance-till-dawn mentality prevails among the thousands who attend.”
So there. Our little plateau on a top ten list. Who would have thought it?
We were having the usual at the Pourhouse to have the proprietor point at me...as she posted the Chokers poster on the mirror. So much postive feedback from our fellow bar patrons who wanted to know how they could get one, did we have tee shirts? etc...it was all very affirming. Who knows if it was the drink talking...but, I'll take it none the less. Chokers will be selling a commemorative poster at Grassroots...so the little epson that could is chugging away in the enterprise.
Speaking of the Chokers, Chris Wofford, a Pourhouse regular, wrote this wonderful article about them and their coming out with new work. Here is the entire article>>. Here is a little excerpt from his great paper:
The Chokers play their brand of old-time music with a rare energy and presence, often re-tooling old lyrics or casting them aside nearly completely. It's perhaps this counter-instinct to treat the material with stuffy reverence that makes the band so unique and immediate-sounding. Says Reidy in his bio, “We're not re-enactors, we're just trying to carry on ... I've always liked the old songs — mules and moonshine, love and death, trains and food, etc. — and the unadorned hard-edged voices that sing them on the old 78s.”
It's this hard edge and brisk humor that often attracts people to the Chokers. Their repertoire is a mile long, and through years and years of playing, they're pretty well dialed-in by now. The band's sound is marked by a driving four-man rhythm section, trademark ‘air-raid siren' vocals and what they call the “Big Boy Chorus” (all five Chokers singing out). But it's Reidy and Crumm who handle the bulk of lead vocal duty.
See. More wonderfulness from our hometown crowd. The picture above is by Becky Stocking--who covered them at the Great Blue Heron Festival earlier in July. I love the pink shirt and the composition. Come see them live, Sunday from 2:45-4 in the Dance Tent at Grassroots. Buy a tee shirt or a limited edition poster. It's worth the trip. Or see them Wednesday night at the Pourhouse.
Thesis is printed out. Binding today. Phew! We go up to Brockport to visit Ms K. tomorrow. Should be fun.