Friday, June 03, 2005

Blue Crabs, Way Down Upon The Suwannee

Memorial Day weekend the Clog-wife and I spent 3 days at the 53rd Annual Florida Folk Festival. We performed 9 different times – three times with the Cross Creek Cloggers, three times with the Inisheer Irish Dance Company, and three times with Greenwood Morris. The Clog-wife danced with all three groups. I clogged with Cross Creek and played penny whistle for the Inisheer and Greenwood groups, the latter solo.

All the performing and jamming until all hours with friends in the campground aside, its almost enough just to know that through the woods beyond your tent the root-beer colored Suwannee River winds its way between its high sandy banks. The same river made so famous by the state park’s namesake, Stephen C. Foster.

I really do have to gush here about the blue crab burritos at the festival this year. Its blue crab season and one enterprising vendor served the shredded crab in burritos with rice and onions, topped with shredded lettuce, fresh tomato, guacamole, and a dollop of sour cream. I overdosed mine with Tobasco sauce and was off to the races and soon in gourmand heaven. Truly enjoyable.

The weather was fine and the weekend very fun except for some nasty redneck bluegrass musicians that appeared at the campground for the first time in the 10 years I have been attending the festival as a participant/performer.

OK, I'll say it. This old-time musician doesn't particularly like bluegrass. To be specific, I don't like the fiddling style or the banjo style. I don't like the fact that the music has escaped its communal roots and has become a performance act structured around pyrotechnic solos. There's nothing for the audience to do but clap. Old-time fiddle music has retained its origins as dance music. Get a group of old-timers together and chances are someone will start clogging on a "stepitune" board alongside. Soon after that, you'd better make room for the barndance.

No comments: