Sunday, July 27, 2008

Northwoodstock 2008

The 3rd annual installment of this popular music festival put on at the historic Bent’s Camp Lodge in Land ‘O Lakes is now in the history books and what a show to remember. Assembled three years ago by Dewey and Penny Bunnell of America and Paul and Lisa Stemen of Bent’s Camp, this year was absolutely the most attended if not talented group to assemble for a full summers day of music, food and obligatory hippie fashions.

The weekend started with a delightful invitation to join the Bunnell’s at their lake home for a pre festival BBQ on Friday evening. Unfortunately, Gladys had a commitment in the Cities’ and was unable to attend.The food was absolutely outstanding (thanks Penny) and the spirits lively. Many of the incoming musicians along with a select group of our areas musical talent were on hand to eat, drink and …be in tune. Shortly after the sun had set and the mosquitoes arrived, the guitars started coming out; and it never stopped. Eventually, in a dark and romantic corner of this warm rustic home, there was an intimate sing along featuring the founders of America (Dewey), Poco (Rusty Young) and Maplewood (Mark Razzo) along with Nada Surf stick man Ira Elliot. Add in another 6-7 gorgeous voices for harmonies and we were all treated to an impromptu 60 minute set that covered The Beatles, Neil Young, Chryssie Hynde, David Crosby, Bob Dylan and more. Wow. I still had a show to cover the next day. I should mention that my daily devotion on this day was to be aware of the blessings offered to each of us daily in a multitude of forms. Well, I tasted it in the food, heard it in the song and saw it on the smiles. Pure heaven!

Saturday I entered the festival promptly at 12:45 P.M. Now the show didn’t start until 2:00P.M., but I figured with my flowers watered and my garden weeded, I missed the first Woodstock, I don’t want to miss this one. What a picture perfect day for the crews and musicians to go through their final sound checks, harmonies and progressions. As the crowd began to filter in, the first band from OshKosh called the Crossbones ran through an inspired, yet at times out of tune 35 minute set of cover songs. This was a nice little outfit that added some familiar lyrics for the early attendees. As the crowd increased, so did the energy, delivering a newcomer to the area, Jo Jo and the Marsh, fronted by attractive and soulful Jo Jo Marsh with her talented husband Mark on the drum kit. With the crowd growing to capacity, local faves Brett and Friske took full advantage of the opportunity to show their chops as they lit off one tune after another like M-80’s at a 4th of July celebration. Ending a spectacular 45 minute set world renowned slide guitarist Rusty Young added to Brett and Friske’s talent and helped build Teach Your Children and Rose of Cimarron into masterpieces seldom heard anywhere, let alone Land O’ Lakes Wisconsin. Eventually, Brett and Friske gave way and provided gorgeous backup to America’s Bunnell and friends along with Poco’s Young who thrilled the now capacity crowd with sing alongs like Ventura Highway, Lonely People and Crazy Love. Here I was with Gladys joining me for this spectacular 40 minute pop set from two industry legends who seemed to be having as much fun as they did when they were selling out places like Chicago Stadium in the day. The crowd was a sing along testament to the lyrical good time vibe provided by these two in our little neck of the woods.

The loons are now singing and the coffee is freshly brewed as I watch Sundays sun rise over the Northwoods, knowing that a handful of select musicians from distant places are sleeping in log cabins by a lake at a place called Bent's Camp. Take it in, each one of you. This is the Northwoods and it is our parting gift to you. Today we are all happy, thankful and appreciative of the visit you’ve paid us. Please don’t be strangers and do accept our offer for a return engagement next summer. You gave us a thrill!

I gotta run. Thanks for stopping by today and bringing the pie. All my love to you and yours, Elmer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't know why we had to miss it this year but we won't next, Lord willing.