This weekend I spent my days in a place where everyone was happy. Happy to share their food, their drink and space on the lawn, happy to be right there, on that summer day, under the sun listening to great music at the Green River Festival. One of the performers, JJ Grey, who played a rousing set with his band Mofro, talked for a bit about a place he likes to go in between his home of Jacksonville, and Ocala Florida.
It’s a simple country place where he sits by a lake and gets away from all the busyness. A friend told him it was his escape, that he was running away by going way up there. “But like this place I am right now,” he said, “in this beautiful part of New England, with all of you at this festival, this IS the place where we should run to. My retreat IS where I should be– that’s the point!” It was a complicated yet elegantly simple statement. Be in the place that you want to escape to. This clear truth brought a tear to my eye.
Emmylou Harris closed out the 25th anniversary show with a rockin’ set including many new tunes, plus a poignant song dedicated to the man she said brought her into the business, Gram Parsons. A true professional, Harris has been honing her craft in so many genres over 25 albums she’s earned the devoted crowd that she attracts at every show. “Don’t think I don’t appreciate you’all coming to see me, I really do,” she said. “I love this job!”
As the hot air balloons began to lift off in the soft summer evening, filling the twilight skies to the east with their joyous rainbow of colors, Emmylou played on, and many in the crowd turned to look at the balloons with her music as a backdrop.
It would be hard to leave such a place as this, hard to go back to our busyness. But like JJ Grey said, the point is to find these places and spend as much time there as we can.