Are You Going to the Green River Fest? The Answers are Mixed

Last night I played drums, like I do every Wednesday night, and I asked my music making chums if they were going to this year’s Green River Festival. It’s become such a tradition for me, and I see so many of my old friends there, I wondered how many of them were going to be there. Not many, I learned.

This year’s line-up has a different feel than last year’s, when big stars like Richard Thompson and Los Lobos brought out a record crowd. The first guy said ‘I have sworn off that festival,’ because it was too hot. Another friend is going out of town to his family’s seashore house, he said he didn’t have a date so he wasn’t going.  A webmaster friend said he never goes because his wife can’t take the heat.  One guy said he had been a few years ago, but it wasn’t on his radar…and a fest like this is something that’s planned months ahead with the tickets and the logistics being a little more complex than a simple club show.

Another man said that he usually got in for free because he played in one of the bands, but this year he doesn’t want to miss a klezmer band so he’s out too. A guitarist said that the line-up made him feel like he’s not really the chosen demographic any more, but he was going anyway. One thing he said that I agreed with whole heartedly was that the line-up is often full of people we have never heard of. And that many new artists that he enjoys listening to today were first seen at the venerable Green River Fest. Dave Alvin was one example.  I am looking forward to a Nigerian band that will play the dance tent–these smaller stages are sometimes the most interesting.

My friend Joe and his girlfriend Susan are going of course. And Mary and I will be there, watching the people and scarfing down the wood-fired pizza. I am pretty sure there will be music there that I’ve never heard before, and so, this year will be a learning year.

The one thing I do know is that there will be a huge crowd and if we’re lucky, this heatwave will break so we won’t roast in the summer swelter.