072603 nero/Guh, Killaloe, ON

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The one time (I believe) I went to the Killaloe Community Craft Fair doesn’t really count for these stories as I was there because the band I managed (nero) was playing, but I include it here for you as a warning or two.  Beware, beware! (more on that in a bit)

I also include it here because I was there all weekend (not just for nero’s Saturday evening set) and I had a great time.  But again, mostly because of the warnings.

If you don’t know, Killaloe is a small town a few hours from Ottawa that used to silently boast a strong hippie/music/arts community.  Heck, even the great, great Lenny Breau spent lots of time kicking around there astounding the locals with his seven-string prowess.  His posthumous solo rehearsal/album called Cabin Fever was recorded in Killaloe.

And if you don’t know Killaloe then you might be surprised to discover that something called the Killaloe Community Craft Fair is actually a really awesome camping-in-the-woods weekend rife with nifty art, music, and workshops and therein lies the first sage warning: 

Don’t judge a small 40 years-strong hippie-dippy fest by name alone.  

I arrived onsite alone around 4:30 on the Friday, and finding maybe thirty people there and only about five tents set up I easily scored the sweetest camping spot.  The grounds were really nice and were brimming with good vibes.  Friday’s music was largely ignorable (or at least largely ignored) and I spent the night meeting lots of crazy people and drinking steadily.  I did spend an hour at my site rehearsing a full The Tummies set only to find the expected open stage didn’t happen, so my solo dress rehearsal had a solo audience of the one person who had happened by and sat down. The evening topped out at maybe 200 people or so, though I might have been seeing double.

Saturday started fairly early, I did a lot of jamming and hanging about until It started pouring so I ended up camped out in my enormo-tent with somebody who came by with a guitar, and there went the afternoon.  I checked out a few of the social justice talks – as I am wont to do on occasion – and I found them really interesting, and then I finally started running into people that I knew (doubtlessly due to nero’s pending set).

Saturday night – July 26th, 2003 – began with a band called Guh that featured the improbable combination of a trumpet/flugelhorn player, sax, bagpipes, guitar with an octaver playing bass lines, and two drummers, all of them playing composed and improvised outside jazz and they were just as cool as they sound (duh).  I don’t have much to say about the other bands but I enjoyed nero a bunch as I usually/always did.

After the nero set I noticed that my cooler had been stolen from my campsite.  This is the first and only time that has ever happened to me and it leads me to the next, and most vital lesson to be learned.

And no, the lesson isn’t “take care of your cooler at a festival, you idiot.”  

Au contraire, mes amis.

Non, the lesson here is that if even you do something as careless as leaving a conspicuous cooler full of frosty beers out in the open at a hard-drinkin’ small-town wookie festival, so long as you keep up even the semblance of basically good karma ninety-nine times out of a hundred you’ll still be fine, so don’t worry about it.  

Further, even if the unthinkable does happen and the long odds catch up to you and you do in fact lose your cooler, well even then you’ll find that that good karma of yours will inspire countless people to keep handing you frosty beers out of their own karmically safe coolers all night long.  So again: don’t worry about it.

I suppose if there’s a final lesson it is this: If you are going to leave your cooler out in the open and unattended then don’t save your coveted last Guinness for Sunday morning.  Fortunately I had somehow pre-warned my will power about this one and had I done away with my last Guinness hours before my cooler had been absconded with.  Lucky me, huh?

I left Killaloe rather early on Sunday morn.  Losing the cooler made packing up that much quicker, in several ways.

Anyway, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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