Greg and I spent an amusing afternoon perusuing Folklife, as threatened.

As expected, it was lackluster. However, there was a lack of the previous year’s antagonistic air between the street performers and the officious priss personell, definitely improving things.

Some notes:

1. I was disappointed in the Crown Hill Billies, a band I’ve long wanted to see. Energy, good. Playing, enthusiastic but, um, uncertain. Board mix, awful. They remind me of the place we were at in the Boxers after about 18 months, really wanting to cross rock and traditional songs but not certain how to move beyond that desire. The band is self-described as ‘bluegrass,’ but that’s not the music I heard them playing. I wish them well.

2. We only found two beer gardens, both serving only Henry Weinhard beers. Now, Henry’s is OK. But it’s just OK, and if I have to drink a cheap beer, I’d rather go with Oly (RIP) or Pabst. Alas, it was middlebrow only to drink, certainly a fair problem for the festival to face, summing up as it does everything that is wrong with folk and traditional music in America today.

3. I saw the actress who starred in a movie I saw for SIFF review, and spoke to her.

4. There were no mandolins for sale.

5. There was a pasty-white ‘Brazilian’ ensemble.

6. The layout around the Fisher pavilion which forces absurd, unexpected navigational choices to climb or not to the top or bottom of the new building is reminiscent of a Microsoft setup wizard. Enjoy!

7. East Africa makes some damn tasty food!