Day One of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival:
Mike, Kelly, Heather and I left Utica by noon on Saturday morning, and got into Hillsdale between two and three (fairly good time, actually). We had no idea where the armada of fruhead tents was going to be, but after a little searching we found Jenn and Laurie, who happily pointed us in the right direction.
The area that this festival is held in is absolutely beautiful. The hill where we camped overlooks a valley of sorts, complete with a small lake in the distance and rolling hills. The festival is held on a farm, but this event definitely transforms this area for one weekend a year. There were tents as far as the eye could see.
We pitched our tent, put on the 'ol sunscreen (actually, I had a whole sun repellant outfit going), and headed down to the main festival area. This was my first time at a festival of this magnitude, and I thought it was great. Tons of food, merchants, and a great feeling of security. I didn't once worry about anyone taking anything, and everyone there was extremely friendly and always willing to strike up a conversation.
After getting some food, and checking things out, we headed back to "Fruville", which was what our fruhead tent city had been dubbed. Eventually, everyone regrouped, and we were joined by Jason, Colleen, Lisa, Rob Johnson, and others. Ofer and Colleen's cousin were there too (Colleen, I can't remember her name!). Zac and Katie and her friends (all from Rochester) were camped out nearby as well.
Moxy was slated to go on at 8:30 at the mainstage, and most people had already claimed areas in front of the main stage. They had a small area dedicated for dancing, but Jason, Dan J, Mike and I stayed further back so Mike could make use of his new camcorder.
Moxy went on right on time, and played for about an hour. They did more standard songs, and talked a little bit less, so they could fit more music in. They did Minnie the Moocher, which I hadn't heard since September '96. The audience loved them, and graced Moxy with a standing ovation at the close of the set.
After the show, the guys had a tent for autographs, and the line was huge!! Susan Tanner from Bottom Line Records was there (Hi Susan!!), so I talked to her for a bit, as well as many other frufans. I decided to go through the autograph line and hassle the guys a little. :-)
Some of our group stayed and listened to some of the acts after Fruvous, but I headed back to the tents to relax. After a couple hours, nearly everyone came back to the tents, and I think at one point we had about 25 people there. John (Lazlo) joined us as well; this was his last weekend doing sound for Fruvous. We sat in a big circle, sang songs, told stories, and had one of the greatest fruhead times I've ever had in my life.
Everyone finally hit the hay around two in the morning, realizing that there was still another day of Fruvin' to do...
From Zard Snodgrass:
After an overnight in Syracuse, we mosied on in many different vehicles to Hillsdale (about a 3 and 1/2 hour drive, at close to posted speed limits, for future reference), and got there at 12. I went off to the humor workshop after meeting up w/Craig and Laurie, and heard Chuck Brodsky do "the Food Pun Song", which anyone who knows me know is RIGHT up my alley! A new addition to my food songs tape. (If anyone has suggestions for additions, pipe right up!) Other great people heard that day were Cheryl Wheeler, Salamander Crossing (who goes down w/EFO and GBS as my favorite bands that I've heard since Fruvous), Einstein's Little Homunculus, and Vance Gilbert. So many great groups, so many friends, so many people to meet, and SOOOO little time...!! Just wandering around the festival was fun - we'd see folks with Fruhead t-shirts and stop to talk to them. Met someone from DC, met lots of other folks, some whose names we knew, or vice versa - Fruvous paraphanalia is a great ice-breaker! (shameless plug) Ran into folks from college (lo, these many years ago..), who work with my cousin, who we'd met at other shows, who we'd read on the ng, etc... FRFF really seemed like the epicenter of my little world last weekend.
Up on the hill, we'd created Fruville - a little enclave of tents, holding about 15-20 people. (sing the "da-hoo, doris, wa-hoo, woris" of all the Fru's in Fruville - only, who was little Cindy Lou Fru?) Chris and I were talking about making a flag - white background, with black felt "Fruville" on it, so that at the next camping or outdoor experience, we can signal which enclave is ours, as folks were supposed to meet us at our tents, and a number of them could never find us. At a folk fest, the green/tan/blue tent by the tree can be really about half the tents at the show! Ken has his banner, but he wasn't up there to help us out! (Great banner!! Did the guys ever see it?)
Mainstage show was really jamming, although they squooshed us dancers into a tiny sliver of a space off to the left of the stage. We taught new chunks of folks the hand jive, and had the fun of hearing our whole section singing along to the background parts - ba ba ba, ba ba ba bada to Boss; fa fa, fa fa, fafady fa to Moon, etc.. instead of the main tune :) (In fact, at the 2nd workshop the next day, one of the bands - either Salamander Crossing or Einstein's Little Hom.- commented on how they've seen folks sing along to lyrics, but everyone was making bass faces "bow bow bow" along to Fruvous, and they said "if you want to make fish faces along with us, that's fine, too!")
After the mainstage show on Sat. night, the line for signatures took about 1 and 1/2 hours to clear out - the guys looked exhausted but took it like troopers, and Bottom Line Rec.s folks were clearly thrilled! I heard on Sunday that Fruvous CD's sold out! (we won't ask how many were sold...)
From Chris Tragoutt:
Once again, the fruvous force was with us, and although six different parties were scheduled to try to meet up at FRFF, (and the odds were slim that it would be easy) we all found each other within minutes of arriving at the venue and set up "Fruville on the Hill" on the ridge overlooking the mainstage.
What a beautiful site for a folk festival! If any of you haven't been before (this was my first time) I would strongly suggest going. The campsite was beautiful, the organizers were nice and friendly, there were good site lines to both mainstage and workshop stages, and the musicians who participated were diverse and talented. The fru-group spent the early afternoon wandering in small groups among merch. tents, mainstage and workshop stage, occassionally meeting up, then splitting apart again like a human amoeba. As the afternoon drew to a close we were drawn to Fruville, where we made the happy discovery that in addition to Katie, friends and family in the group of tents nearby, ofer and company were also camped near, resulting in "Fruville" and suburbs all on one ridge. For a couple of hours we shared massages (well, actually colleen gave massages :-) ) pictures, and stories of recent adventures, and poor zard got to hear me relate for the umpteenth time my three day lightening visit to Guam. As the time approached for the Fruvous mainstage, we rose as a collective (scary when that happens!) and descended the hill en masse. Someone, zard I think, took a photo of the fruvous von Trapp family singing "The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music" as we scrambled down toward the mainstage. Halfway down the hill we split again, tapers, camera-people, etc. in one direction, dancers in another and "lazy sit on our butts till the show starts" in a third. Most of us ended up in the "dancing section" a tiny bit of grass roped off with "caution" signs (how right they were!) to the left of the stage. Fruvous came on stage to raucous applause and shouts from the penned in dancers, and someone held up a banner inviting Jian to change his shirt. Ken (KPFruhead) held up a wonderful banner his mom had made, featuring Barry and Larry, and waved it so that the Frulads could see it from the stage. The set was fairly standard, although we got a lovely treat with Minnie the Moocher. As the show wound up, the dancers decided that they had had enough of the small pen and rushed the stage; the concert organizers, seeing that the rest of the audience was already on their feet realized that resistance was futile and allowed the dancers to pass. The show ended with "the Drinking Song" and a large group of us in the middle linked arms and sang at the top of lungs under a beautiful starlit sky. I turned around a few times to see the audience behind us; hundreds of flashlights and lighters were lit, waving gently in the night to the beat of the music, the crowd was clearly into the moment. I don't know if the guys could see the full effect of those white lights against a black background, as the stage lights must have dimmed the contrast, but it was an amazing sight. After the show we walked around to the cd tent where a long line had formed of people who wanted to meet the band; Fruvous spent almost an hour and a half signing autographs and talking to fans. Marcus was swamped with requests for autographs as well, despite his protest of "But I'm not *in* the band!" I heard later that Fruvous had sold out of cds. :-)
We stuck around for a bit to listen to Salamander Crossing, and eventually
made the trek up the hill to Fruville, and a nip of warming Scotch
(medicinal purposes, doncha know!) and fruhead conviviality. The sky was
incredibly clear, we could see the Milky Way galaxy, the constellations of
the northern hemisphere and quite a few shooting stars, which inspired
sing alongs of "If I had a million dollars," "the Drinking Song," "Love
Set Fire" (Chris O'Malley on lead!) and the Kid's Song. I finally had to
crash around 1:30, and fell asleep to the dulcet tones of fellow fruheads
in a reprise of the Drinking Song.
From the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival program (pg. 8):
This is the second consecutive Falcon Ridge appearance for this
Toronto based foursome, by fierce popular demand, we should add.
Last year, Moxy broke the previous record for merchandise sales
here on the ridge with their 2 albums on Warner Music Canada,
Bargainville and Wood. Gangsta banjo,
Hip-Hop, accordion love songs and Persian epics; diversity
has always been on ofe Moxy Fruvous' strongest calling cards.
Fruvous was born when 4 former high school chums took over a Toronto
street corner with their wildly theatrical vocal-based street
performance. They say the style was born out of laziness; "We
wanted a gig with no amps to carry so we learned to sing the whole
works." Sing they did and a following began flocking to the corner
to hear their musical theatre style satrizations of current events.
Moxy Fruvous is Michael Ford, vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica;
Jian Ghomeshi, vocals, piano, guitars and percussion; Murray Foster,
vocals, bass and guitars; and David Matheson, vocals, banjo,
accordion and guitar. This spring saw the release of You
Will Go To The Moon, the very first release for the year-old
Bottom Line Records.
Some other tidbits from the performance include: