Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Friday, May 06, 2005
Jazzfest Day 2: Eat, drink, dance. Repeat as Necessary
Another stunningly beautiful day. Cloudless blue sky, 72 degrees, light breeze…there just can’t possibly be a more perfect environment in which to sit on a blanket and listen to your favorite music with your friends all day. The crowds at Jazzfest are something else entirely, and contribute to the enjoyment of the Festival equally as much, if not more than, the great music. Without exception, Jazzfest goers are happy, polite, laid WAY back and simply there to have a good time. There is a definite karma to Jazzfest – and it’s a really, really good one. We were always meeting great people, and by the end of the fourth day, you run into the friends you make at the concerts along the way throughout the fairgrounds. These two gentlemen are but one example – a lawyer and an Emergency Room physician from VA (who asked to remain anonymous by donning a Mardi Gras thong), that we really had a good time with one afternoon.

Once you set up your lawn chairs or blankets, you are free to roam the festival grounds and be assured that even though someone might stop by to sit and listen at your little camp, no one will walk off with your chairs or move your little piece of real estate. Apart from the much younger demographic for the Dave Mathews concert on Saturday night, the demographic at Jazzfest was basically our group: Mid thirties to late forties. There were lots of couples and families with babies and little kids. Not many teenagers however, and a decent cohort of folks my parents age who were having the time of their lives. And did I mention that Jazzfest is the best place in the world for people watching?

Another ritual of Jazzfest is the flags. Large, happy groups like ours are the norm, and many people attend Jazzfest year after year, generation after generation. In order to locate groups of friends in the large field areas of the Racecourse, people create colorful flags on long tent poles and stick them in the ground as markers. These can be really creative, and range from state flags (like the Maryland one in the photo below!), to whirly gigs, to stuffed toys, to; well… just never know what you’ll see. Love the leg. Reminds me of the lamp in "A Christmas Story".

Another great thing that happens when you get so many talented musicians together to celebrate music is the “sit-in”, where musicians from one group show up in another act to jam. The “sit in” holds a certain voodoo, and offers the rare opportunity to hear once in a lifetime match ups and performances. At times, it’s a rite of passage, a passing of the torch between different generations of likeminded musicians. Other times, the sit-in serves as a three-dimensional family reunion, a chance for longtime friends to recreate their backstage energy in front of an equally energetic audience. In certain instances, the sit-in also serves as a formal welcome, an opportunity for local musicians to greet their guests with a taste of native culture. But, no matter the initial impetus, the sit-in has become a bedrock of Jazzfest, living proof of the genre’s fraternal nature.

I’m going to break this post up and review the day’s music in a separate post. For now, I leave you with a picture of a contented concert goer, our buddy Spatty catching some rays.

posted by Broadsheet @ 5:31 PM  
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