Courtesy of the O's. The secret is to just keep drinking.
By the O's
Days Four and Five: Residuals, Recovery and Returning Home
Reflecting on last week requires strong mental fortitude. Elation and exhaustion have melded our memories. How can we describe this experience? MusicFest is all about piling beers atop beers that are piled on slices of cold pizza. Follow that up with more beer and vodka. It's like eating Cici's: Sure it's delicious, until the cornucopia of debauchery causes you to wake up the next day with gout. This is not the healthy living retreat that is readily available at any resort in Colorado. Out here in Steamboat for MusicFest, you play all day, hang out all night, and hope the hairs of the dogs get you through another morning spell. So we dredge from moment to moment hoping that we're heading closer to our goal: Festival Epiphany.
Courtesy of the O's. Look how happy he is!
After playing our shows, it was time to walk around and check out some music. We saw Jack Ingram, John Slaughter, Roger Creager, fan favorites Turnpike Troubadours and the great American Aquarium. We stumbled upon the legendary Gary P. Nunn playing an impromptu set on the hotel lobby piano (see the photo below). After the scheduled shows had shut down, we found ourselves up in room 707 for a late-night jam. It was here where the camaraderie built, and we started to get that "we're all in the thing together" vibe.
We moved to another room on the fifth floor, shut up, and listened to Roger Creager, Matt Hillyar and Max and Heather Stalling. It's these moments -- artists and fans huddled into a small hotel room -- that make MusicFest more than just some random festival. Artists can relax and have fun. The fans get something that just doesn't usually happen. Perhaps it's the beer and pizza building up, but this is the true essence of why we're all here in Steamboat.
Courtesy of the O's. After the party it's the hotel lobby.
As we try to quantify the intangibles of this trip and put everything into perspective, the closest comparison we can find for the energy of this festival is a river trip. It's as much a vacation for the artists as it is for the fans. When you've got this many people all in one place, dutifully re-toxing night after night, it sounds like a recipe for disaster. But it's the opposite with these folks, because the crowd's a bunch of good ol' boys and girls. It's mutual respect we found ourselves enjoying up here on the mountain. You can take the cow-poker off the farm, but you can't take the "aw-shucks" out of his or her vernacular.
Thinking back on our first day, when it took 27 door-to-door hours to get here, we feel like we've come out on the other side relatively unscathed. It's crazy how when you finally get to the festival, all the BS that it took to get you there gets lost in the haze, and all you know is that you are part of something great and loving it. This isn't just one of those shows at the local club up the street; this festival takes dedication from all involved. The travel, the weather, the getting around. It's a veritable would-be of things gone wrong.
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But you wouldn't know that by how smoothly this "thang" runs. The performances all seemed to go off without any major hitches. Sure, a few things were lost by airlines: Our steel guitar, Casey Donahue's and Kevin Fowler's bags, and plenty of other things. Sometimes it's in the things that we lose (bags, guitars, sunglasses, our minds) that become our best stories. And we look forward to forgetting all the new stories from next year if they'll have us.
Courtesy of the O's. It's a whole thang.
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