This was my third visit to the Sisters Folk Festival and I’ve already emailed Julie at Sisters Vacation Rentals about reserving a condo for next year. Sisters Folk is THE perfect festival for acoustic music lovers who don’t like to camp. It’s a weekend festival taking place from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. They run six outdoor (yet covered) stages in the middle of the tiny and charming city of Sisters, Oregon. All of the venues are within 4-5 easily walkable blocks of each other. The venues all have chairs, too. I’m a big fan of chairs myself.
Add to that that the shows start on time and the sound at this festival is about the best I’ve heard anywhere. Every word of every lyric and every pluck of the mandolin is as clear as a bell. I have a theory that good sound has more to do with the sound guy than with the equipment. It’s just a theory :)
And, oh yes, they have music, too! Wonderful music. Here’s the line-up from this year. When I look over the list of performers now, I’m a little shocked at how many of them I didn’t see, even though I attended about 14 hours worth of shows in two days. There’s a lot of music!
My first show of the festival was the Peter Mulvey “workshop” show on Saturday morning in the grassy grove at the new Sisters Coffee Stage. He opened with a song about talking ravens on the roof of his hotel during an Alaskan tour. It was so beautiful that I was teary by the second verse. His whole set was beautiful, interesting and moving. I liked or loved every show I saw that weekend but I knew right at that moment that Peter Mulvey, my first show of the festival, was not going be topped.
Among the “loved!” shows were Chris Kokesh (I’m crazy about her new album “October Valentine”), Betty Soo, Ellis (adorable) and Martyn Joseph (what a presence). I only caught part of two songs in Nathanial Talbot’s set on the Emerging Artists stage but was so engaged that I bought his $5 CD to screen for the Acoustic Pie stream. We’ll see!
I also caught the end of Peter Mulvey’s show at Bronco Billy’s on Sunday (still a wow). I realized after a bit that I was standing next to Slaid Cleaves at Peter’s show. That was a bit disconcerting. Only a few hours later I was struggling to get a non-blurry picture of Slade waaaay up on the Main Tent Stage from the back of a standing room only crowd. How quickly things change. And I was not successful in my quest either ~ all of my Slade pics are various shades of blur (I’ll post a link to the slideshow at the end of this).
If you join me at Sisters next year (that’s Sept. 9-11, 2011), here are some other things you also absolutely must do there: Have a latte at Sisters Coffee Co., eat a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie from The Depot, and get peaches and Gravenstein apples from Richard’s Produce.
Thanks for reading, everyone!