a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Spring Shakori, 2011

It just keeps getting better. Music. Music Festivals. What This year’s Silk Hope, NC event at Shakori, screamed SPRING, as the rains have been coming, the grounds are more beautiful than ever. I didn’t hear any complaints about the muddy paths and many surrendered to bare feet and squished their way around all weekend. Yep. Shakori is a barefoot friendly festival – with composting, recycling and reusables encouraged in the most organized, accessible ways, it’s a clean gig.

Although there is no lack of appreciation for the diversity in style and genre, I’m noticing that the bands keep getting bigger, better – both in members and sound. The sound is hyper-skilled creative explosion of celebration, movement from the inside out. And it seems to be contagious.

A personal favorite is Penny Prophets, an electric supergroup from NC bringing back rock’s “rhythmic tightness combined with psychedelic freak-outs” who did a Thursday show (and then worked the parking lot on the off days – after all, We Are One…)

Holy Ghost Tent Revival mixes brass with banjo, guitar, bass, drums and keys (and the occasional saxaphone) and from my hiding spot behind the speakers with an up-close stage view, I was mesmerized. This 7 member group – with more than 10 instruments between them, are also locals, from Greensboro, NC. They defy all genre as they move from instrument to instrument, creating a celebration of talent, passion and life itself.

Scythian stole my heart and perhaps the entire 4 days of shows in my world. They played a Saturday evening show and I swear the ground moved under my muddy feet. Described as Celtic New World style, I found a bit of everything in a  thrashing gypsy punk sound that destroyed all logic but created something else much more magical. I found out later that 3 of 4 members are classically trained musicians, and a drummer with a masters in Jazz Study. That explains a lot because you couldn’t keep these guys  from jumping and bouncing all over the stage Irish jig-like, yet never missing a note or a beat, with bows flying at hyper-speed – all while wearing infectious smiles.  Lead fiddler, Alexander had one so big, beautiful and real, that it broke me in a million pieces, while I remembered that this is really truly why we are here on Earth.

Music. Celebration. Salvation. Redemption? I’m ready.

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