Steve Simon had this dream, and he delivered on it. With the folks from Mountain Jam and Michael Cloereon at his side this three day festival was ready to go but Hurricane Irene had another thing in mind. She stalled over the mountain region of NY State and poured tons of water and with winds in total disregard for all the people there and in the region.
The first day went well, but by the evening Steve and company knew adjustments had to be made. It would now be a two day festival, all the acts that were there would play but airlines were cancelling flights, the NYS thruway was a mess and the local roads were even worse -under water and washed out. So to insure the safety of all they made the gutsy call. Robert Cray would open at 11:00 am followed by Buddy Guy, all acts then would be in the giant ski lodge complex indoors – featuring back to back stages and would go all night.
It worked, the bands played, the people danced and were safe. The term ’Framily‘ was coined there, a made-up word that speaks of the friends and family aspect of the Blues community and how we feel toward each other.
The official fest ended Saturday, but we were all still there. Intermittent power, made smart decision making a priority – when to eat and when to use battery power. Everyone was on their own till some went to the main lobbies of their hotels and started to congregate. I happend to find Kirsten Thien and Eric Boyd walking thru the lobby and asked if they would mind playing some music while we had light, soon Pat Pepin and Kit Holliday joined us and we were off with a fantastic acoustic jam that took some of the pressure off us all.
The lodge managed to open up long enough to feed many guests, then began giving away perishables since they would spoil over the coming days.
The next morning we found the roads closed, power lines down. Many managed to get off the mountain, others remained for an extended stay. Out trek got us to Albany then headed west, but the thruway was still closed – flooding at all points along it from Albany to Buffalo. We managed to turn back and find a hotel for the night, yet our intrepid niece and boyfriend who had stopped by our house in Rochester managed to get to Albany and stayed with us. The persistence and strength of youth.
We made it back later that Monday Rochester had been spared – passing thru the area heading back we could see water lines half way up trees and buildings, houses having been wiped out and floated down stream, cars inside houses fro the current that swept thru the area. It was scary and made u srealize how serious these things can be, unless you see it for yourself you may never understand.
Thank you Steve Simon, and your cast of dreamers. You did it, I know it hurt the pocketbook/wallet but you knew it was going to (but not THAT much) . Be proud that you managed to keep us all safe, that you provided us with a fantastic show – the likes we may never see again. Know that we still love you and that you will always be ‘framily’ to us all.
This is very large gallery, I tried to put it into two but it just didn’t feel right. I wanted to keep a semi-chronological order to the snaps to give a timeline feeling. I hope you enjoy them.
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
Where Blues Thrives
Photos by: Leslie K. Joseph
***to read my post shortly after the event please go here: http://blues411.com/?p=2364
** an interview with Steve Simon before Bluestock: http://blues411.com/?p=2309