Monday, May 3, 2010

25th Annual Tucson Folk Festival

I went downtown today.
In Tucson, that's a noteworthy event.
Unless you have business with the State or the County or the City or the judiciary associated with any one of those entities, there's really no reason at all to drive down there.  On a weekday or on a weekend, unless you're going to the Museum of Art or a convention, locals rarely say "I went downtown today."

But every once in a while we put on a show.

With the police as open as their vehicles (isn't that the friendliest cop car you've ever seen?) Tucson's 25th Annual Folk Festival, put on by the Tucson Kitchen Music Association, took over the plazas around our civic center.  There were vendors on the outskirts, selling the usual array of tie dye and jewelry and pan flutes 

There's going to be a medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot, and NORML was there to explain the why's and argue the why not's while wearing blinking necklaces of 5" plastic hemp leaves. 
Right next door (NORML is the green tent on the right) were the snacks. 

 Save your snickering.

Have you ever seen frybread?  There is a reason that our Native American population is riven with the medical consequences of obesity, and its name is frybread.  The lovely ladies will drizzle honey or slather chocolate sauce over its still-warm-almost-crunchy-outer layer, but I prefer cinnamon sugar with my grease, thank you very much.


There were felafels and hot dogs and all of this

but the one inescapable vendor was this guy

whose smoked essence permeated the festival.

There was lots of wonderful music and the venues were lovely

The performers were on and off the stage with efficient introductions and exit strategies designed to direct the listener to the TKMA kiosk where my cd's are available and they're really really good.
There were no roadies; the performers carried their own instruments and shared the same sound guy

and I was ready to head for the other two stages when the rain and the wind and the generally menacing skies sent me scurrying back to TBG at home.

I parked for free, on the street, one short block from the main stage and in front of the secondary venues. I bought a cool t-shirt and some silver earrings and I heard live music while watching middle-aged folkies dance.  (Are there any young folkies? There weren't that many in the audience, that's for sure)
I ate ethnic foods and sat on comfy folding chairs and watched baseball caps and cowboy hats and straw boaters smile at one another as we watched each other watch each other.

It was like being invited to a neighbor's backyard, with great entertainment.