Grassroots was a different event for me this year. Grassroots was a highly social few days mixed in with a little dancing, a lot of listening, and laughter. normally it has been long days of non-stop listening, hot and furious amongst the hoards of the great unwashed ( true in both counts). There is some charm to that, but oddly, I have discovered that I am not a shirtless “bro” looking for as much cold, cheap, beer (for you bro aficionados , read “natties”). I am not looking for a hookup on the dance floor or to spend the weekend ” in the bushes”(as a mom mentioned that her child spent the festival there). I leave that to my son Alex to fulfill that role.
Grassroots was this year about community and about the musical DNA that Trumansburg and Ithaca have ingrained in it’s culture. We live in a small area where live music on a very high level can be heard nightly for free or a nominal charge. These are professional musicians with conservatory training, and some self taught but in the tradition of the area, decided early that music was central to their being…and started street performing in their teens. Some make their livings being musicians, while many others have day jobs in libraries, schools, moving companies, food concerns bringing that right brain viewpoint to the everyday as well. This is the thread of music, from the people and their ethos to the actual art performed.
I am honored to have gotten to know some of the most vibrant musical brains in the area, and am charged up by their focus and commitment to music as the spine of their lives, the spur to live and continue to grow that I am questing for as are others of our tribe. It is so curious to quiz people about their backgrounds, their training, their lives as musicians and performers. It has made me better understand the artistic “thing” that moves us all forward— the quest for inspiration, the strength of solo work and for some, collaboration; the timing and sequence, the need to get the work out and seek insight and and reception. Regardless of the channel of the arts— whether it be visual or auditory— these are some common threads we share.