Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Old Songs Festival 2011

 Well, here it is. The long expected Old Songs post. I'm sad to say that I didn't get very many great pictures this time around. I'm very shy when it comes to photographing people I don't know, especially when my picture taking will be very obvious. Next year, hopefully, I'll be bolder.

When we arrived, it was raining. The rain was off and on nearly the whole weekend. I haven't been to an Old Songs where it didn't rain at least once, but this one was particularly rainy. I think setting up our tent in the rain is traditional though. This time, however, we got there before dark, which was really nice. The picture below is of John and his younger brother Kevin. They are fast tent-setter-uppers, having both been boy scouts.
Setting up the tent

Other tents and some nice views.
 As we do every year, in order to get a free admission ticket, we volunteered to help out at the festival. We always work in the kitchen and food prep department aptly named Creature Comforts. We don aprons, bandanas and latex or vinyl gloves and cut vegetables, assemble egg salads, stir soups and when the other volunteers, performers and vendors line up for their lunch we serve it to them.
John and Kevin prep some lunch
 It's really rather jolly for the most part. Serving the performers is always exciting because you get to see up close musicians and singers and dancers whom you've admired from afar. Sometimes you even get to tell them how much you liked their show!
A really big salad
 The workshops are another very cool part of Old Songs. John and I went to a concertina workshop in the hopes of picking up some good tips. It was interesting and entertaining. We don't, either of us, currently play the concertina, but we're planning to buy one sometime soon! This guy was in a band called The Press Gang.
Concertina Workshop
 Old songs is located in Altamont, NY. It's a lovely place with a beautiful view of some mountainous terrain.  This is probably the back of some famous mountain range, but I really couldn't tell you.
A nice view
Here's the closest picture I could get of one of my more favourite bands. We went to a couple of their smaller concerts as well as seeing them on the main stage here. They were called The Outside Track and were composed of four people from various parts of the British Isles (two from Ireland I think, one from Scotland and the other from England) and one gal from the U.S, Maine, I think. They met at Univeristy in Limerick Ireland. They were very talented and played some beautiful music, Celtic, Scottish and and old American folk, primarily. The violinist also did quite a bit of step-dancing.
The Outside Track
 And then there's the Contra Dance every night of the festival. I never actually dance, but I do enjoy watching. The colours and the motion are very hypnotic, and the rhythmic speech of the caller speaking the next moves to the music is inspiring. I'd probably join the dance if I could convince my husband to join me. He's not much of a dancer.

John and I went to a whistle and flute workshop. The floutist from The Outside Track was one of the teachers, she was vivacious and cheerful. I liked her a lot even though she would insist that it was "an easy song" and it really wasn't (And I know my way around a penny whistle pretty well). The other teachers were a Seminole indian who taught some about Native American five holed whistles and a clarinet player who played improv/backup penny whistle and recorder for a band that played a lot of eastern style music. It was a fun workshop. 
 The piper.
 The festival is at some large fairgrounds where there are all kinds of historical farming implements scattered about. I wish I had taken more photos of this kind of stuff, it looks really neat.
Rusted farming equipment
That's pretty much it for the good ones of Old Songs. I need to get over my fear of photographing strangers, I'm sure most of the musicians and performers expect and don't mind having their picture taken. There's also a lot of people in some very interesting clothing at Old Songs, it's frequently like a mixture of a Renaissance Faire and a hippie gathering. Really, folk-music enthusiasts usually are pretty hippie-like. I feel like my hippie-fairy clothing style fits right in when I'm there. It's always tons of fun and ever so tiring, but completely worth it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...