Who woke up this morning wishing they were in camp at Rooster Walk? Or getting ready to head for Festival in the Park?
Whose second thought was, even if we were there, this rain lately would have caused many quagmires?
It’s like Mother Nature is definitely having her say this summer. Over festival season. Over everything.
Take the work world. I’m lucky, and only am experiencing furloughs so far. While I was out week before last, on my first of two scheduled for this month and next, I got the news that both FloydFest and Red Wing Roots were not happening this year.
It was a bummer for thousands, and a subject of some push and pull — in the social media universe, anyway. Some folks complained that FloydFest was hanging on because it was out for its bucks. The haters likely didn’t realize that the headliners — including String Cheese Incident, Grace Potter and a Talking Heads “Remain in Light” tribute featuring original Head Jerry Harrison and guitar genius Adrian Belew — still had FloydFest on their touring schedules.
The thing about that is: Music booking contracts are complicated, and everyone had best agree, and all be in a row, when it’s time to announce that sort of big, bad news.
No doubt the cancellation hurts, and so it goes at Rooster Walk, too. The 12th version of the Martinsville-area summer-season opener had Infamous Stringdusters, Melvin Seals & JGB, Fruition and lots more cool stuff during what would have been a soggy weekend, even if today has turned out to be sunny (or not — I had to write this on Thursday, when the Roanoke River was mighty, at crest).
As for Festival in the Park, the organizers hadn’t even announced a lineup before canceling. Neither had the Budweiser Summer Series, at Elmwood Park; that Downtown Roanoke Inc.-powered series didn’t even have specific dates on the calendar. Both of those deals are very family-friendly, and who can complain about that option this time of year?
It’s all bad news, although hardly the worst of this year. And hey, there’s a spot of sunshine here, because Rooster Walk will be live-streaming music Saturday, with some festival favorites hitting it from the festival’s Lake Stage. Flip back to Friday’s Extra to get details.
Live-streaming might feel like cold comfort on Memorial Day weekend. But here we are. What are we to do with it, given there is no live music and no crowds to perform for? That’s a big-picture question, but I’m not ready to deal with that just yet. I’ve yet to get my mind around the fact that everything I cover is gone for who knows how long, and we’re barely two-and-a-half months into it.
Often, you read columnist Liza Field’s Field Notes in this space, on this day. In the spirit of that column, here are some things that are kicking around in my noggin.
Music is pretty existential for me, and always has been. I will never understand people who don’t care for it, particularly in a live setting. Covering FloydFest, in particular, is a mixture of incredibly taxing mental work, thousands of steps per day and moments of transcendentally thrilling musical experience, all happening on the same clock. There is always a great beer selection, too, for after the daily story is posted.
I never have covered Rooster Walk from front to back, and haven’t been to most of them, either, due to Festival in the Park overlapping. But Rooster Walk is an amazing time, when I can be there, and last year’s Pop’s Farm throwdown got me thinking I had to finally make the choice to go camp out and report for the entire weekend.
Mother Nature had another idea. She had another idea for most of us here lately.
That brings us to the question: What are we music lovers going to do with this time that we’re used to spending in a sort of ritualistic, music-loving way?
I recently ordered an old drumming go-to book that I had lost, “Stick Control for the Snare Drummer.” I might as well hit the old drum pad this weekend, going through some exercises that are like old friends (and frenemies), and taking time to freestyle some stuff, maybe spark some new musical ideas of my own.
Here’s the part where I ask for your thoughts. What did you do this Memorial Day weekend, in place of your usual good time plans? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook. I’ll compile and share them in a future column.