In mid-August, 1969 it rained nearly all weekend at all small town in Upstate New York. In spite of the conditions more than 400,000 people witnessed the most historic music festival of all time. It was called Woodstock and from what I have read, it was kind of a big deal.
This brings me this weekend’s Albino Skunk Music Festival. Yes, the forecast calls for rain all weekend, yes, I have had no less than a dozen people ask me if I am going if it rains and, most definitively yes, I am still going. You don’t miss an amazing music festival for fear of a few rain drops, at least in my opinion.
Here is where you might be thinking, “Does this guy actually have the nerve to compare Skunk Fest to Woodstock?”
Yes and no.
If you are looking for Jimi Hendrix, The Who, or Janis Joplin, they will not be at Skunk Fest. If you are looking for a few hundred thousand hippies high on all the drugs the 1960’s had to offer, they will not be at Skunk Fest. If you seek traffic jams, gate crashers and insufficient facilities, those will not be at Skunk Fest.
On the other hand, if you want to enjoy a weekend of amazingly talented musicians accompanied by local, food, drink and art, then that will most definitely be at Skunk Fest. I would stand in a lightning storm in a metal helmet for a chance to see Slaid Cleaves on stage and I am stoked that I get to scratch him off my “artists to see” list this weekend. If Billy Stings & Don Julin are as impressive as they were last year, I doubt I would mind standing in a puddle of mud or even a pile of hot coals. Obviously, I will never see Jerry Garcia or The Grateful Dead live and in concert but, rain or no rain, I am pretty stoked to see the band he co-founded, New Riders of the Purple Sage, headline the Friday night edition of Skunk Fest.
The same applies to much of the rest weekend’s Skunk Fest lineup. Many of them do not play the area often and it is hard to say then they might be here again. These are some bands and opportunities too good to miss, regardless of what might be falling from the sky.
I cannot lie and pretend that I am particularly thrilled about walking around in soggy shoes all weekend or testing the durability of my tent’s rain fly but they are still more attractive options than sitting at home Saturday night listening to a Slaid Cleaves album with the knowledge that he is playing live just up the road in Greer. Plus, I know Skunk-host and promoter Glynn Zeigler and his band of contributing misfits have worked too hard on this year’s festival to be deterred by a few raindrops and I would be embarrassed to wimp out in the eyes of a bunch of old farts like them. So, I am packing my clothes in garbage bags with the hope of keeping them dry, digging in my closet for the rain suit I am half-certain I own, and (in my best Zeigler fashion) bellowing the war cry…
See ya at Skunk, music lovers.