Ten days of camping. First at the Hootenanny at Banker's, then down the canyon to the Planet Bluegrass in Lyons. Reggie Barrett was on hand at both places to gift me socks in an effort to help me stay warm in the middle of the night. 

I spent ten days offline, out of doors, talking songs, singing songs, listening to songs and learning. It was a magical year.  We sat in the river and talked about life, we got up on the Open Stage and sang funny songs, we had a fairy garden song circle complete with twinkle lights and kindred souls, we had our Thursday sandwich on a Sunday, we rode in the back of a super sweet truck Sarah got as her rental car. It was awesome. 

Kathy Mattea shared her story and it taught me that I have something in common with a country superstar- she's trying to figure it out one day at a time just like me.  

Bonnie Hayes is my hero. She knows songs inside and out, she's in love with songs and she's funny and awesome. I want to be Bonnie Hayes when I grow up. 

Darrell Scott was there being his Darrell Scott-est and melting hearts and blowing minds like he does. He opens most classes with us closing our eyes while he walks around singing a song. I cry every time.  I learn from him every time. It's an added bonus that he's my friend and will make us the most amazing grilled peaches smothered in magic sauce for dessert.

Every year I go to Colorado to see friends I only meet once a year. We're our very own community and it has been such a blessing to return year after year and see how everyone has grown, get to know everyone a little bit more, cheer each other on as we take risks and grow in our art. This year Shannon brought her itty bitty baby, Rick came for his first year, Cheryl was the official "Hamilton" ambassador, Connor was on the teaching faculty, Rob gave me Spanish language CDs for me to listen to, Korby won the Song Contest, Jagoda was back, Amy was a newlywed, Michael and Siobhan inspired us all, Mike brought his new girlfriend and it made me smile to see them so happy. Good times. 

There were so many conversations I wish I had had, but didn't. There were people I saw in passing but never got a chance to hear from. There were songs I wish I had heard, but didn't. 

On Sunday morning before we drive home, we eat breakfast at The Barking Dog where we sit together and write down our goals for the year. We've done this for at least the past 4 years. This year my goals include: 

- write 5 AABA songs/ practice the business of music/ book more studio time to get over my fear of the studio/ practice my booking skills (book 6 "big" gigs). 

The Folks Fest Highlights included Mavis Staples, Andrew Byrd, Darlingside, the Song Contest finalists, Connor Oberst (he was a mess, but if he gets his act together he might be pretty good), Cheryl Wheeler, surviving the rain, that wine slushy, an impromptu song circle using a borrowed guitar on Sunday afternoon (Ben's birthday) and THE DECEMBERISTS!!! They won the whole thing. They were amazing. I love them. 

There are so many things I want to tell you, but don't know where to start. Like every year, the week in Colorado feels like a gift that will sustain me for a while. I am glad to be home and be with my people. I loved a week of creativity, but I am also content with the day to day life of our household. I'm back waiting tables, doing breakfast duty, driving the van, that kinda thing. Life is good. 

 

 Colin Meloy of The Decemberists closing out the festival on Sunday night. They were incredible. 

Colin Meloy of The Decemberists closing out the festival on Sunday night. They were incredible. 

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