This is definitely the largest fru-pilgramage that I've ever been a part of. I left Rochester on Friday, July 4 at around six in the evening and got to Laurie Addenbrooke's in Buffalo by seven. The group of us would be staying at Laurie's until Saturday morning when this journey would begin.
Everyone started trickling a little past seven. We got our time schedules organized, caught up on old shows, and basically chatted for a long time. Mike, Kelly and family paid a visit; they would be going to Bracebridge, but not Sudbury.
Let's see: who all was there? Dan Jablonski and Jered flew in, Colleen flew in and met up with Jason and Lisa in NYC (they drove up from there), Chris and Zard drove up from Viriginia, me (Chris), and Laurie and Craig.
We all finally went to bed sometime around two in the morning. Of course, we needed to get up early to start the day on Saturday. :-) Not much sleep happening this weekend!
Saturday morning came far too quickly (lack o' sleep), and we all started rising at various times and getting ready for the trek to Bracebridge. We had eleven people and three cars. Mike/Kelly would be meeting us at the Canadian border. We left at various times between the 7:30 and 8:30 range, and all got to Bracebridge at around noon. I picked up Heather Rolph in Hamilton on the way, since she was joining us for this fru-extravanganza.
Moxy did a workshop from 1:30 to 2:30, called "Finding our voices". It was at one of the smaller side stages, and they were joined by two other a cappella acts, The Burns Sisters, and Rosemary Lapenskie. They alternated taking the mics and sung various a cappella tunes. The three groups closed the workshop by singing "Amazing Grace" together. It was pretty good, and Moxy was host for this small little "side concert". Jason forgot the windscreens for his microphones, so he used socks (a.k.a. microphone condoms) to cover his mics.
After the workshop, I gave Mike one of the final drafts of the crossword puzzle, the group of us grabbed something to eat, and then headed back to the hotel in Bracebridge to check in and get organized. I realized at the hotel that I once again got a really bad sunburn, the effects of which got worse as the day progressed (blisters, lovely blisters). We hung at the hotel for a few hours, grabbed some dinner, and then headed back to the park for Moxy's mainstage set.
We were back to the festival early enough to catch some of the acts before Fruvous, which were excellent. Lennie Gallant and his band were very entertaining, and they were so hard up for acts while waiting for Moxy to get all set up, they had some locals reciting poetry and singing songs; it was like being with a huge group of brothers and sisters in a big sing-a-long. I've never been to a folk festival before, and I was very pleased with the togetherness that I felt there. The sky was completely cloudless and the moon was non-existent, so the stars shined brightly over the stage when Fruvous finally came on.
Starting at around midnight, Moxy was on stage for about forty minutes, and was very well received by the crowd. Many people got up to dance during the last few tunes. After their set, all the artists from the day who were still present got up and did a final number. Once again, the audience sang along and the feeling of warmth and togetherness pervaded the park.
We stayed and talked to Moxy for a bit, and I was convinced by my peers that I needed to go to a hospital for my sunburn. We said our goodbyes to the guys, and headed back to the hotel, which is conveniently right down the road from a hospital. They basically told me nothing I didn't already know, so we stopped at a store to buy medicine. We all went to sleep in our respective hotel rooms at around two in the morning.
From Chris Traugott:
And I thought last week's EFO concert had induced a state of perma grin..... :-) In short, after this weekend my face muscles hurt from smiling so much, my stomach muscles hurt from laughing so much, I am woefully short on sleep, and long on junk food (just in case anyone was wondering, Pop tarts for breakfast three days in a row, washed down with Diet Coke and followed by copious amounts of french fries later in the day is *not* the best diet for surviving an intense folk festival weekend...). I am going to apologize in advance for the choppy nature of this post, I am freely plaguerizing from letters I wrote friends about this weekend because I am too lazy to do a proper post (give me a break, I got home at one in the morning and was up five hours later to goto work! :-) ). I'm sure that Colleen, Zard, or others from the legions of fruheads will fill in the many blank spaces this post will leave.
Zard and I set off for Buffalo from Cooperstown (long story) late Friday afternoon and got to Laurie Addenbrooke's near 9 o'clock. Had some time to bond with other fruheads (Frufamily, Dan, Jered, Craig, Chris, Jason, Colleen and Lisa -- thanks for making it another awesome weekend guys!) before catching a few zzzzs and heading up to Bracebridge early Saturday morning (via Tower records in Toronto, naturally!).
Arrived in Bracebridge in the warm, sunny afternoon and the congregation of 15 fruheads staked out their spot next to the workshop stage. Fruvous was hosting a workshop called The Voice as Instrument or some such, with the Burnes sisters and a solo performer whose name escapes me. My first folk fest workshop and most enjoyable, Fruvous did Blow Wind, Blow, Boss, YWGTTM and the Gulf War song. I liked the Burnes sisters and thought the soloist was good too, although her voice seemed a bit thin in comparison to four part harmony. The three groups joined together to end with Amazing Grace, one of my all time favorite Gospel songs, which sounded wonderful. I was so delighted! Laurie was teasing me because she said when they started singing I hugged my knees to my chest and crinkled up my toes in the grass, I guess I looked like a happy little kid or something. Anyway, after the workshop we grabbed a bite to eat and went to motel to check in. Hung around the hotel rooms for a while signing t-shirts, scamming massages from ceecee (thanks sis!) and chit chatting about nothing in particular until people were hungry enough to forage for dinner.
Went back to the park for the evening concerts, saw Lenny Gallant, who was very good, and an American singer whose name I never heard but who looked like Steven Spielberg. After some technical difficulties, Fruvous came on stage. The promoter told everyone to sit down, and Jian laughed and said "I was just about to invite everyone to get up and dance!" Most of the fruheads ended up moving over to one side to dance, Laurie and I stayed seating (she had a broken nose and didn't want to jump around, and I was a little too stiff from all the driving and sitting on cold damp ground to bop around). The show was good, fairly high energy. Mike made a bunch of jokes related to the entertainment we had while Fruvous was setting up (some character named Ginger -- he looked like an elf -- got up and made jokes and got the audience to do sing alongs). Hung about a bit after the show and asked the guys to sign one of the postcards with the new itinerary to send to Dan Carps, who as some of you may know is in Israel for the summer and missing abunch of shows. Hopefully a fruhead postcard signed by the guys will help make up for all the shows he has missed. Got to bed waaaaay too late (concert euphoria and good Scotch, always a combination for insomnia!)
(Chris' writeup continues in the 7/6/97 show review)
From Colleen Campbell:
Bleh. Just in case any of you were wondering, driving from Sudbury, ON, to NYC in a day, flying to Alabama the next morning, and going straight from the airport to work is indeed a bit taxing. (GST, I believe. :) Only a Complete Nutcase would do it. Fortunately for me, I'm a Complete Nutcase, because I was quite willing to do it, for the sake of the two shows I got to attend and the wonderful time I had with all the other Complete Nutcases (is that copyrighted?). As I said to Mike, I'm not sure whether I deserve a medal or a padded room at this point. . .
I came straight from work Friday (I volunteered to work July 4 so I could squiggle out of work Saturday), flying to Buffalo via Baltimore (hoped to meet Holly in the Baltimore terminal, but she wasn't working there that day) and admiring the fireworks from the air as we came into Buffalo. They looked like little spurts off the ground--tiny glittering plumes of red and blue. There was a little welcome wagon in the airport--Laurie, Dan and Jered, who'd just flown in from MA, and Jason--and a bigger one at Laurie's, where I was the last to come in. Met Kelly, Mike, Josh and Jake for the first time, and visited with Chris O', Chris and Zard, Craig, and Lisa Goldberg from the Bronx; we scribbled a get-well card for Marcus (I smarted off, "We said, break a LEG!"), speculated that from the sound of it, the Fruvous crossword puzzle is likely to be too difficult for any one person, did some massage (oh, like I don't do it everywhere I go!), etc. Even though we knew we had to be up quite early, it was none too easy to lay off the chattering and snooze out. In fact, I started noticing that first night how tightly knit a community this was--many of the people there having never before met, or met only once or twice at shows, and yet it was more like a big reunion of old friends than a grouping of relative strangers, traveling together for convenience's sake. That feeling pervailed throughout the weekend.
I was in the first group out the next morning--Chris, Zard, and Jason, who all wanted to visit Tower Records as we went through Toronto. It was my first look at TO, or Canada at all, really, and I was both rubbernecking like a typical newbie tourist and laughing at the fact that normally people come from Canada to Florida for vacations, not vice versa. Throughout the trip, I saw scads of Canadian flags proudly flown--perhaps remnants of Canada Day earlier in the week, but still indicative to me of a staunch attempt to maintain and validate a Canadian identity. The cars of our caravan played leapfrog on the road to Bracebridge, passing each other and the Frubus itself. We arrived at the Mariposa in Muskoka festival with plenty of time to spare, slathered up with suntan lotion, and got a couple of startled grins from Fruvous when they noticed how many of us were there--15, having picked up Heather in TO. It was a wonderful festival: very mellow, sun- drenched, lolling around on the grass, with a very unpretentious atmosphere. The food was surprisingly good and cheap, and I think it was then that we started on the running joke about the American- Canadian exchange rate. (How could we not? At one point I handed over an American $20 and got more than $20 in change.)
Fruvous was just as laid-back, hosting a workshop on a cappella singing in the early afternoon. They started off with a brand-new version of "Blow, Wind, Blow" (Murray's verse in particular sounded like it had been concocted about 5 minutes earlier, to fit the occasion) and went through YWGTTM, Boss, GMIA (introducing us to the "a cappella guitar"), and Gulf War Song during the course of the show, and joining in with the other workshop artists for "Amazing Grace" at the end. Afterwards, we chatted with them, Lazlo (who's back with them just for the month of July), and Marcus, who's taking his injury as good-naturedly as possible. The man who produced the science video they made a few years ago was also there and says the video is still available, if any of you would like to see Fruvous dressed up in funky 19th century garb. Oh, and speaking of clothes, which is of course all we do here, three of the four guys had opted for shorts that afternoon, Jian still preferring the bellbottom look. (Oh, and Jian: pardon me for being amused that *you* were the one who brought up the subject of your own hairstyle to me. . .) After a while, we all headed back to the hotel to check in; it wasn't long before we'd all crammed into a room to babble, sign t-shirts, sing intermittently, massage, reminisce over Fru-anecdotes, etc.
Back at the Fest that evening, things had cooled off considerably (oh, yeah, *that's* why I don't live in Canada. . .) and the mainstage was running quite a bit behind, so we huddled up and listened to several good performers (my favorite was the rockin' Lennie Gallant--he had an excellent fiddler with him, among others) and chatted and marvelled at the extent of Chris O's sunburn (ye gods!). The organizers ended up having to stage somewhere between half an hour and an hour of delay tactics during the lengthy changeover to Fruvous' setup. "Ginger" was by far the best received--a gravel-voiced old man who sang "Oh, Lord, won'tcha buy me a Mercedes Benz" and an admonishment against encouraging the romantic attentions of dogs towards one's legs: "Don't pet the dog."
Fruvous finally took the stage at midnight or so and played a short, very energetic set. We were asked not to stand up and dance up front (because the people behind us wanted to stay sprawled on the grass, hmph), so we stretched (oh, yes, after the last experience with dancing without stretching, you can bet we did!) and scampered over to stage right to bounce around. The last song of the set was "Love Potion" and that finally got the crowd on their feet with us, cheering enthusiastically for more, so when Fruvous came back for their encore, they put the matter to a vote: another loud rock song, or a mellow ballad? They'd intended to do "Drinking Song," but the crowd clamored for a rock song, so we got "Dancing Queen." Amusing moment of cee's weekend: during the "Walk on the Wild Side" verse, Mike replaced "Holly" with "Colleen came from Miami, FLA," and I screamed and flopped down, a bit overwhelmed by it. Dorky, yes, but I think the guys got a kick out of inducing the rock-stars-who-make-women-scream-and-fall-down response out of me.
(Colleen's writeup continues in the 7/6/97 show review)
From the 'Mariposa 97 in Muskoka' info pamphlet:
Moxy Früvous is composed of four high school buddies who got their
exciting start while busking on Bloor street in the early 90's. They are noted for their
high energy, good spirits and finely tuned satire delivered through a mix of guitars,
world-beat percussion and harmony.
From the 'Mariposa 97 in Muskoka' program:
Gangsta banjo hip-hop. Accordian love songs. Solid pop songs written by skilled songwriters and energetic performers. This great band is composed of four high school buddies who got their exciting start while busking on Bloor street in the early 90's.
They are noted for their
high energy, good spirits and finely tuned satire delivered through a mix of guitars,
world-beat percussion and harmony.
They just released their latest CD "You Will Go To The Moon" this last spring.
Some other tidbits from the performance include: