I’m cozy in my bed, with socks on and earplugs at the ready, though the realm isn’t too boisterous at this hour, so I don’t think I’ll need them…
But, it’s damp and I’m trying to sleep on a hill, and to top it off there’s a drum circle not twenty feet from my head.
The odd thing about the drum circle is that I don’t think I would mind it so much if it weren’t damp; and if I weren’t trying to sleep on a hill. The rhythms were good, and the crooning that accompanied it was soothing. I kind of enjoyed it, it helped lull me to sleep, and it was preferable to the musical fiasco from an hour or so earlier, when we wandered over to The Neverlands stage to hear the late night musical offerings. The Wicker Men took the stage for a midnight show. I couldn’t tell you how they sounded from that set, however, because whoever was at the mixing board never got it quite right, with the fiddle lost on one song, found on the next, with the flute lost at that point…I can, however, tell you how they looked: they looked like a band formed to score chicks. My young companion, Amber, dubbed the drummer Jesus-Tarzan, with his crown of thorn-like LED’s encircling a head of long brown hair, his bare, smooth, muscled chest and his loincloth… Then there was the one we called Elven-Pan, complete with Panpipes. He didn’t have cloven hooves, at least not as far as we could tell, but he was wearing a pale brown leather vest over his otherwise bare torso, with his willowy arms swaying the pipes hypnotically. His facial hair was rather goat/Pan like and the effect was rather mythic…Elron-the-Elf’s illegitimate half-dwarf-son took center stage, but I couldn’t tell you what he played, because our eyes were glued to Thor and his Mighty Fiddle tearing up both stage left and bunches of cat-gut (at least I assume he was tearing up the cat-gut, but, like I said, the fiddle was only aurally evident for every other song, despite how furiously Thor sawed away at it. I do think, however, that I saw smoke billowing out from underneath the strings…)
And then there was Jesse, guesting from Woodland. Jesse was fully clothed, and looked like…JESSE! (this is truly his name, not one fatuously made up by my friend and I) And, because Jesse was up there on the stage, I assumed that the other musicians were actually better than the bad sound mixing and hunky nakedness would have me believe; and, when The Wicker Men played on the Mainstage on Sunday, I found that this was so: Solid musicians with carefully crafted songs, a pleasure to listen to. Good on them, but this old lady (and her twenty-three year old walkabout companion) would advise them to put some clothes on if they want to be taken seriously…otherwise our snarky made-up names for them might stick!
It’s a shame that the sound mixing was so bad for the Wicker Men, but it was, thankfully, perfect for the previous act: Moss Ratafia writes and performs one song for each Faerieworlds, pulling in other performers and singers to bring his magic to life. If you could close your eyes and imagine Edward Gorey characters dressed in Medieval/tribal attire, with curly toed shoes, pointy hats and dreadlocks, you might get an idea of the look of these half dozen or so people who took the stage. Took it with force, they did, impossible to look away from or ignore. More performance art, or eerie and cool musical theatre than rock and roll, they captured everyone’s attention with their discordant notes mixed with Gregorian chant-like song structure. The audiences first reaction to the piece was an almost universal “What…the heck…is this?” followed by complete captivation moments later. My reaction was “Faerie Burlesque…cool!” Who knew that a song about the tooth faerie could be so dark!
(sorry, there isn’t a video available. *sigh*)
The music on Mainstage was equally hit and miss, which is unusual for Faerieworlds. Omnia headlined on Friday night, with Aussie tribal rockers Brother taking an opening slot.
Omnia is a “Pagan-folk” band from the Netherlands. I am not a fan. In my opinion they are completely derivative, and can’t decide what genre or style they want to play, so they have perfected none. During their set on Friday night they played a “folk” song that was more of a heavy metal ballad; a “country” song that was really reggae; and a “rock” song that sounded country. Now, I have no problem with bands (or artists; or writers)experimenting with other genres, I just think that pains should be taken to do it right…and, let’s face it, if they hadn’t announced that they were going to play a country song, no one would’ve noticed or minded that they played a reggae-“ish” song instead. Know your genres, people, or at least stop mis-labeling your music.
In addition (and this might’ve even been worse than their lackluster song-smithing) the lead singer styles himself as some sort of planetary warrior, or savior, or such, and so spent much of their time on stage preaching to the audience. Honestly, if I wanted to be preached to I’d go to church or watch Fox News. If you have something important to say, use your art to say it. Put it in your lyrics, don’t preach it to the choir!
Omnia: Inane lyrics, badly crafted songs, (such as the following, with lyrics [mostly] lifted from Shakespeare)don’t waste your time.
On the other hand, there’s Brother. Why they weren’t the headlining act is beyond me. Brother is tight, with great musicians and superlative songwriting skills, the way they blend bagpipes and didgeridoos into alternative rock and roll is amazing, and never ceases to get the crowd jumping. I’ll take Brother anyday!
Too much to tell about the music at Faerieworlds, so let me just say:
Martine Kraft: Wonderful!
Kytami: Wow! No, really WOW! and one more, just because!
Woodland: What would Faerieworlds be withoutWoodland? Well…nothing. Seriously, nothing. Emilio and Kelly Miller-Lopez are founding members of both Woodland and Faerieworlds, so, yeah, you can’t have one without the other. Over the years I’ve enjoyed Woodland more and more, they just keep getting better, and tighter and more delightful to hear.
There is so much more to Faerieworlds than the music! There’s art, and vendors, and thousands of folks dressed as Fae, from swaddled babies to septuagenarians. It has a spirit that’s missing in many music festivals, with camaraderie and conversation with close friends, those you only get to see once a year and brand new intimates. The heat dampened the energy a bit this year, especially with so little shade on the festival grounds, but, as the sun went down, souls were re-awakened by cooling breezes and the promise of adventures to be had. I found that people watching at Oberon’s Tavern was a good, relaxing way to spend part of a busy evening…that is, if you weren’t called away by glow-ball armed “fire”-dancers in the stone circle, or philosophical repartee in the food court.
The first Faerieworlds was in Sedona, Arizona in 2002, followed by various other locations in the intervening years, but in 2009 a “permanent” home was found in the Emerald Meadows area of Buford Park/ Mount Pisgah in Eugene, Oregon. Unfortunately, after misuse of the park by a much larger and louder electronic music festival, the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted to ban such events in Buford Park, despite ardent and vocal public support. Next year Faerieworlds will be held at it’s new home, Hornings Hideout near Portland, on Labor Day weekend.
From the Horning’s website (www.horningshideout.com) and the post on the Faerieworlds Facebook page by Emilio Miller-Lopez (https://www.facebook.com/groups/7136224911/permalink/10152316361634912/) it’s seems like Horning’s will be a delightful place to continue the Faerieworlds experience. My only hope is that 2015 will see the return of Faun, and Delhi to Dublin and Stellamara to the Faerieworlds stage!