This would be the first morning in 10 days, since we left home, that we wouldn’t be getting on the bikes and riding. We took advantage of this fact and slept almost until 8am. I could have easily gone longer, but the tent was getting warm from the sun so it meant time for coffee and hot chocolate. Now that it was light out, we sussed out our general surroundings and saw that most of the choicest campsites were still available. We are up in the family camping area and there were a good number of cars, tents and people already, but they would be packing in a bunch more.
We moved our tent to the far side of the pond where there would be shade all day, while also away from the slamming honey bucket doors. Great camping spot for the weekend found, time to roam. We walked down to the Cascade coffee shop to see if they were up and running, but that wouldn’t be the case for another few hours. From there we went up into the woods where people we starting to set up camps and wandered about checking things out. We made it to the venue gate and wandered in to find vendors setting up with a couple open already. Coffee in hand, we walked over to the medical tent to find Nathan Greene, who Tai had befriended the year before. Greetings and introductions were made and it felt so comfortable here. It’s hard to believe how welcome you feel here. Nathan is a great guy that helped Tai out last year with some minor injury and also got him backstage to meet Jeff Austin and play for him. We spent a good 20~25 minutes catching up, talking, and him explaining the medical tent setup and what they are prepared to deal with. They have 38 staff members that are either at the tent, or roaming about the whole area in golf carts. Very well set up!!!
After leaving Nathan and promising we’d come by later, we wandered back to our tent to soon meet Pete. We were at our tent talking with someone we met the night before when Pete pulled up in his truck and came over to ask if it was alright to set up here. Sure, go for it ~ and that he did. He backed his truck up and started unloading in a manner that you knew he knew what he was doing. Tai and I lazed about and chatted while watching a mansion with full kitchen set up appear before our eyes. He was the first of about 15 people coming from Mt. Hood and there would lots of kids running about. Molly and Emma came shortly after and we tried to stifle our giggles watching them put up their tent. These 2 provided our constant entertainment for the whole weekend and within 20 minutes we were old friends.
I think I may have taken a nap, but things get a little hazy as we didn’t write anything down in the journal during the festival (which we probably should have). There was just so much to see and do and the senses get a real workout giving this place an almost magical element. At the end of the day you’re tired and you know that you could never capture what you had seen and done with a pen. We took lots of pictures so that helps me remember certain moments in time that I can connect with others and fill in the blanks, but it’s the little things likes the smiles and smells that start to blend from day to day.
Around 5pm Tai grabbed his mandolin and we went down to the Artists Area to look for Big E (Eric Schwieterman). He was the guy that contacted Norie through Facebook and we found him easily enough by just following the music. Eric and a few others were out front of his camper playing music when we walked up ~ they stopped and they made us feel so welcomed. Introductions and a few tales were told before the picking started, and they sounded good when they started playing. I was talking with Jason while they were playing and it was a proud papa moment for me. I could see that Tai was just absorbing everything while at the same time so natural in this element. They ran through a song a few times, with Tai and the other mandolin player switching mandos. We hung out for a while and plans were to meet up tomorrow morning at 8am at the Cascade Stage. I guess Tai passed the audition 😉
Tai was so stoked for the rest of the night. Walking back he was talking about the mandolin he played and how good the other players made him feel. They were all super supportive of Tai and made him feel special. On top of that, they were all great musicians themselves!!!
The rest of the night we wandered around in a musical daze. We saw/heard so much good music and the people and venue just amplified everything. We had dinner in the vending area and watched/listened to a Johnny Cash set led by Scott Law and friends. Some great renditions of great songs. We met up with Nathan again and Tai told him that he was playing the Cascade stage tomorrow with Big E and Nathan said he’d be there for sure! The headliners for the first night were Greensky Bluegrass and were really good. We had a big day and left about halfway through the 2nd set to head back to our tent. When we got back Tai went straight to bed while I stayed up Pete and Monica and others that arrived shortly afterwards. Leaving before the show is over is kind of a new experience for me, but there were quite a few other parents doing the same thing. Kids in bed, parents stayed up late.
We slepted in a little bit. We had to move the tent because we wood bin in the sun all day. We moved the tent behind the pond. than we talked to Pete Molly and Emma. Then we had to get our wristband. We went to Brett and and hitched a ride up the hill in a golf cart. We got are wristband and we stopped a pickup truck and ask them if we could get a ride and we got a ride down on a bumper. We met Nathan from last year and we me him again this year. We went around and had pizza. it wasnt was the best.We got to meet BigE and Allie and we got play some music and i got to play a grate mandolin and tomorrow I get to play on the Cascade stage. Then Greensky bluegrass ~ it was a grate SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!