The Kate Wolf Festival offered a wealth of sights and sounds to be embraced over the three days of fun and music. The fact that Annie and I decided, long before the event, to forego the camping element, did not detract from our enjoyment of the festival. If anything, it enhanced it, because, as it turned out, Annie had to work both Saturday and Sunday, so we could not get there any earlier than four-thirty or five in the late afternoon.
Because of the heat, arriving at this time was probably a good strategy for being able to go all three days. Another strategy was keeping an open agenda, with only two or three items etched in concrete. So it was, as Annie and I made our way back out to the festival on Saturday, we immediately headed for the Arlo stage again, to hear Perla Batalla, which was all well and good, except extremely hot. Having unsuccessfully looked for niece Isabel on Friday, we kept our eyes peeled today, and sure enough, off to one side, we quickly spotted her, and I made my way over to touch base with her. She seemed delighted to see me, as we exchanged hugs, and we spoke briefly before agreeing that we would meet again shortly.
Later on, when Isabel joined us where we had set down our quilt, considerably behind the audience, on the side of a very gentle hillside, and out of the sun, we got a chance to find out a little more about her presence at this festival. She explained that this was just one way in which she could gain knowledge and experience in her field-music. It was not a paying gig, but the fact that she could put doing the sound for one stage, over a three-day period, on her resume, would help for future endeavors. Once she becomes proficient in different areas, and has successfully done the jobs, then she could start to command a salary.
After the show, on the short walk over to the Bowl, I spotted a six or eight hundred gallon water tank, with a sign indicating that this was drinking water, so we stopped and filled our water bottles. Hydration was a key to success, and the folks at the hog farm did an awesome job of making this happen. In addition to the drinking water, there were port-a-potties strategically placed throughout the grounds, and we never had to wait in a line-not once.
We encountered a boatload of acquaintances, both old and new. We had no sooner come onto the grounds the first night, when we ran across John, who wanted to know right away if we were camping. No, we told him. And you? “Hell no,” he responded. “I’m way too old to camp. Let these kids do the camping-I’m going home when it’s time.” That seemed to be the general consensus of opinion. The kids camped and the elders did not.
My favorite music from Saturday was Coyote Grace, playing on the Revival Stage. Not only did I enjoy their music, but I liked their story. Mixing bluegrass and blues, the band told of bearded guitarist Joe Stevens’ transgender change, "resolving a lifetime of dissonance between being raised as a female, while identifying as male." Not without cost, Joe’s transition "closed some doors while opening others."
Afterwards, when we got to the Bowl, the site of the main stage, we hooked up with Casey and Amber, and enjoyed some more music and local cuisine. I went for a turkey burger with fries and plenty of ketchup, while Annie had some skewered chicken with rice, with a little glass of wine. We sauntered around checking out the booths, including the “smoking tree,” the designated spot for, well, smoking. Whether it was tobacco, or something to mellow out your head, people were encouraged to congregate in a large area so that others in the crowd who did not choose to indulge, would not have to be a part of it.
That didn’t mean that there was no smoking in other parts of the grounds, but it did mean that in the area of the Bowl, people were very respectful of this request. Just for the record, I saw ten times the amount of reefer being smoked than I saw tobacco, but who was counting?