Every year I tell myself I'm going to go to the Saline Celtic Festival
, and every year I end up not going. This year, I said, "Dammit, I'm going!"
According to the web site, several workshops were scheduled for Friday evening, including one for playing in an ensemble group and another for playing the Irish pennywhistle. This in addition to various bands. Saturday, the main day, was filled with activities, ranging from jousts to haggis hurling to maypoles to dance workshops. And, of course, music, music, music.
Aran has been on a big knights 'n' dragons kick lately, and it occurred to me that he would like the festival, too, but not until Saturday, when there's more going on. Also, he and I haven't done anything together as just the two of us in a long time (unless you count piano lessons). I told him about the festival, and he was eager to go.
Anyway, tonight I put Corey in the car and drove down to Saline--just me, since Aran wouldn't be big on the workshops. The weather was balmy and perfect, completely unlike the usual hot, muggy destruction we usually get in July. Found the park with little trouble, found parking with rather more trouble, slung Corey over my shoulder, and headed down.
At the entry table, I said I was interested in both the ensemble and whistle workshops, but it turned out all the workshops took place at the same time, so I chose the ensemble one. Paid the fee, and the woman directed me to one of the large canvas tents that dotted the park. "If no one's there," she said, "come back. They may have moved it because we didn't get as many people as we'd hoped."
There was indeed no one there, so I came back to the registration table. There I found four or five other people who were also waiting for the ensemble workshop. And then I saw . . .
. . . them.
One of the canvas-enclosed stages showed a trio of people, and they had harps
. Since the ensemble workshop didn't seem to be in any hurry to start, I said, "I'm going to wander over there for a look."
The people at the harp stage were scheduled to give an event--a combination concert and "this is how harps work" sort of thing. But there weren't many people in the audience, so everyone was just chatting instead. They saw my harp case.
"What kind of harp do you have?" asked one of the women.
"Dusty Strings," I said.
"Well, come up and join us!" she said.
The event turned into a combination jam session/workshop/shop talk thing that went on for over 90 minutes. The four of us compared notes and threw together a quick performance of "Greensleeves" and "Sheebeg, Sheemore." More people came. We swapped harps around. Harpers love doing this because different harps have different feels and different sounds, so it's interesting hearing how your music comes out on someone else's instrument. It's also interesting hearing someone else play your harp because you never hear your own playing, just like you never really hear your own voice--the tone sounds different from the audience than from behind the harp. It was great fun!
I never did make it to the other workshop.
Once the harps wound down, I wandered about the festival. It was very quiet and uncrowded--Friday is a very light day. The main stage ran a couple of really good Celtic bands and one lousy one. (Lousy because I hate so-called Celtic rock. It sounds dumb no matter how you do it. In my humble opinion.)
And then home. Tomorrow I return with Aran. We'll see how he likes it.