Geoff's Notes

Sun, 26 Jun 2005

As festivals go, it was an incredible mix of music, but clearly slanted toward the pop/rock end of the spectrum. It was a good thing I was first on, and what I offered was a lovely start to the day, but I'm not sure that many the several hundred folks who were there that early would remember what I did after hearing all the rest. In that regard, I look forward to Sweet Chariot and being back with the "family." Withal, I should say that I am honored to be in this company. In particular, it was important for me to hear Richie Havens again, who is so much like Pete in his quiet, self-effacing manner off stage, but full of a message of the need to work for peace and justice in his music. And what a performance! Not only were his incredible guitar strumming style and voice as powerful as ever, but his rap was magical, including a conversation with the "younger" set who might think they missed something by being born after the 60's. Richie's pitch is that in the 1950's everybody was dumb, gullible and innocent so those in power could do whatever they wanted. Then in the 60's came a moment when "our" generation suddenly became hip, he says in one day, which has got to be a reference to Woodstock. And then we challenged those in power and we actually made changes. But now, he says, the secret is that we're right back in the 50's, and it's another generation's chance to take charge and hopefully make it stick this time around. He delivers all this with a wonderful sense of humor and hope. He ended his set with his incredibly powerful "Freedom" at the end of which he rose from his stool playing his quadruple time strum and the leapt into the air with a split kick four feet off the ground! Everyone was on their feet by then, and he had to do an encore for which he chose his very quiet "No More Turning Away," leaving us with the simple plea that we cannot let ourselves be distracted from the most important task of paying attention when others are in need. I urge everyone to go see Richie if he's around, and get his album *****

So this festival ran from 10:30 a.m. to nearly 10:00 p.m. An amazing event in an amazing place. Let's hope Jeff Salzmann and all the supportive folks around Brooklin can keep it going. It's now 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, and if the wind comes up, I'll get out sailing this afternoon.

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