Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Trip Start May 22, 2006
2Trip End Jun 12, 2006
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The ranch camp ground is packed four days before the festival begins due to the fact that the information on how to stake out your preferred camp site was published on the site www.Kerrvillemusicfestival.com by Dalis Allen, the festival producer. By arriving at the gates to the ranch on Friday five days ago and sitting in a huge line up of prospective festival-goers until Sunday at 10 am when everyone was allowed to purchase a "stake", enter the camp grounds, and place the stake where a traditional camp site has been for many years, many readers of the web site have taken advantage of a tradition that has long been carried on through word-of-mouth only.
When I arrived at the ranch camp grounds on Monday (three days ago) I was totally amazed to see hundreds of tents set up already and about 400 actual campers on the grounds. Last year on this same schedule, I arrived on Monday and saw five or six tents, no other campers, and very little sign of activity. I promptly erected my tent, left it, and set off for Padre island for two days on the beach. This year, I postponed that beach pleasure in order to hang out with so many of my fellow campers.
It's definitely an exciting year. The campground stage is currently in process of a huge transformation which vastly expands the size of the outdoor seating. The whole festival is undergoing some serious tax status events. By putting the Threadgill Outdoor Theater under the auspices of Grassy Roots Foundation (nonprofit), and other accounting reorganizational events, the expense for expanding the seating must be tax deductible. I'm not sure what the theater is ultimately going to look like. It may not be totally completed for this festival. After all, the former benches are gone. Attendees may need to bring their lawn chairs if they don't want to sit on the ground. But the performers they see will be awesome!! Most of the construction is being handled by volunteers--lots of workers, few chiefs (though there may be an occasional grumble about those claims being reversed).
I've been hanging out with my friends Don and Frieda from Sulpher, LA. They came to stake out their site and decided to stay rather than return home. They always, always bring a load of fish frozen in sealed coolers. They then hold a gigantic fish fry inviting any and all to partake. This year, the fish have been sheltered in mighty ways. Don and Frieda decided NOT to abandon their home when it was partially destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. They stayed home, kept their generators running, and saved the fish. The saga of getting the fish to Kerrville, finding a place in a freezer donated especially for that purpose, and the possibility that next year there will be NO fish lends a poignant feel. I've been encouraging them to make a special 'grace' over these fish this year. Don and Frieda have survived in splendor the terrible catastrophe of having a tree fall and split their home down the middle. The roof is repaired, the carpet is replaced, but the home is not back to normal yet. They are also now home to three cats who have adopted them because their owners have not yet returned.
There are many stories here at the festival. Not only will I share some of these stories as I hear them, I will also share my reaction to various performers at this 35th year festival. Naturally, I have my favorites. I've resurrected some songs to sing written by a few of them I've not seen in many years.
I have a great camp site. My hammock is up. I've two great canopies laced together to help with the brilliant sun. My son is arriving in two days, bringing his current band mate and his banjo. I have my bike. Life is really great.