Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"The fiddlin,singing,eating and drinking will continue until moral improves". The Lloyd, Shining Dome of Enlightenment

Janice and I went to the Florida Folk Festival this Memorial Day Weekend...the longest running Folk Festival in the country...58 of them, I think.

I first played the festival in 1974, I think, when I was an Artist in Residence in W. Va. I was sent to a conference at the Stephen Foster State Park on the banks of the Suwanee River, and met some very interesting people. It opened doors. My group played at the Fox Hollow Folk Festival in NY that summer and participated in the Fla Folk Festival in August that year. we even got to stay in an airconditioned motel, a first for the One Night Only Band. We was in high cotton.

That summer, I met folks like Gamble Rogers, Thelma Bolton, Blanton Owen, Bill Staines, Evelyn Beers, Susan Boyer Halley, and the amazing Rhinestone Cowpie, whose real name I can't remember. We played  to more people than I'd ever played before in my life. That was a pivitol summer in my musical career.

 The festival is now a gathering of  friends...lead by characters too large for the big screen, Lloyd Balwin, the Shining Dome of Enlightenment, Bill Martin, the only flatpicking lefthanded auto harp player I've ever known, (pictured above)

Buzz Sibley, who expends enough energy playing fiddle to power the area for a day..

Edwin and Karen, rhythmic metronomes on the Banjo Uke, and Guitar.

Tired Mule, (self named)who has learned to play fiddle and guitar in his later years in defense of working a high pressure job at Mickey World.

Upsala, the most fun band in Florida who were fortunate enough to work with one of Florida most famous songwriters, J U Lee. JU left us a body of work so powerful it leaves people in tears, from laughing and crying. His widow, Wanda, has now put his works into a wonderful song book. I got a few if you're interested.

The list goes on and on...

It's a pity ya'll ain't privy to the kind of energy and music we experience in that three days at the Shining Dome Fish Camp on the River of Mirth, where everyone can be a Haha. Susan Boyer Halley lost her mother and brother  last summer year. She always comes to the fish Camp to become a Haha for an evening. The next day Susan came to me and said she had not laughed so hard, or so long, since last summer.

As Dome puts it, "The music, drinking, eating and music will continue until moral improves"!
Laughter and music with good friends IS big medicine. Too bad the rest of the world can't experience at least three days of the Fish Camp. I'm sure there are hundreds of Imahaha Phishe Camp Cells all over the world that help make life tolerable for thousands...

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