By Jelane A. Kennedy
The second Sunday in August brought the annual Adirondack Folk Music Festival started in 1989 in Schroon Lake, New York and sponsored by the Schroon Lake Arts Council. Each year the free festival takes place on the west shore of Schroon Lake in the town park of Schroon Lake Hamlet near the boathouse and in front of the band gazebo by Rogers Brook. This year celebrated 25 years.
For us it was our first year to attend the Festival. The event started at noon. We had said that morning we would try to head over with our chairs early but it wasn’t until just after noon that we arrived. At that point all the spots under the two tents that provided shade were stuffed with people. We started under a tree a few yards away but it just seemed too far to really feel the vibe and be in the midst of it all. So we moved over closer to the tents and found a small spot to squeeze in for a little shade. Later we saw that others had discovered as the sun shifted that the shade from the trees grew to cover the area by the wall near the Rogers Brook. Within time every piece of grass was covered in that direction with lawn chairs.
The sun beat straight down for the first hour and but by mid-afternoon the cool Adirondack breeze quietly broke over the crowd. I don’t think most people even noticed, as folks seem intent on listening to each musical group perform. I know I didn’t want to miss a note so I didn’t wander far except when there was a bit of an intermission.
Besides the music the Lions club had their hot dog stand on the grounds. There were also several craft vendors and the Schroon Lake Association had their tent out and they were selling raffle tickets for a New Trick Hornbeck boat. The Schroon Lake Arts Council was also selling commemorative T-shirts to celebrate 25 years. A local child from the Schroon Lake District School designed the T-shirt. I didn’t wander much into this area because I was just so into listening to the live music.
Everyone was tuning in and chilling out. This was not a huge festival but it was small and intimate in setting. Five groups (Roy Hurd & Frank Orsini; Michele Fay Band; Dana & Susan Robinson; Jamcrackers; and Boxcar Lilies) performed 40-minute sets culminating with a three-song set with all the performers crowding the small stage. It’s too bad that they didn’t play a Peter Seeger song during the final set to pay tribute to his support of the Festival.
It was a relaxing afternoon kicking back in our beach chairs. Watching the boats play on the water and listen to the music! As I’ve said before, live music is just so much more satisfying than listening on the radio or my iPod for me. I find that when I do listen to music that I have bought at a performance the music is nuanced by my experience adding another layer to what I hear and feel.
What could be better on a hot summer Sunday afternoon!
(c)2014 Jelane A. Kennedy