What's up festi-fanatics, I just got done packing up the car after the third annual (my first) Blue Ox music festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where I pretty much had the time of my life. We were all woken up very early this morning by the campground staff telling us to pack up and leave because a big storm was on its way. Let me tell ya, I've never seen a festival clear out so fast, and most got out in time. I, on the other hand, was up until sunrise playing music and was moving slow and didn't quite get everything in before the storm rolled in. We drove out of there soaked and happy to the bone. Here's how the last day went down.
Billy Strings gave us his version of the bluegrass alarm clock as he put it, "it's better than coffee", he said as he then proceeded to shred our faces off for the next hour and a half. I know I was awake. Then Keller and the Keels kept everyone dancing in the hot sun with a high energy show. The Punch Brothers, Drive-by Truckers, Pert Near Sandstone all played amazing sets on the main stage leading up to a big finally by Railroad Earth, who played for two hours straight, then played "I still got a long way to go" for the encore. Maybe they were talking about the late night set where a few members of the band joined Pert Near Sandstone to bring the festival to a close. Nothing like a late I dance party in the woods to make you feel alive.
Overall this is a great festival, and I'm sure it will be around for a long time. It's easy to see why many are calling this place the Horning's Hideout of the Midwest because there seems to be magic and love in the air. The people were friendly, the porta-potties were clean, there were kids dancing and chasing bubbles everywhere, and the music was out if this world, straight out of heaven some would say. And I can't say enough about the jamming that took place all day and all night in the campground. If you like to pick this is the one for you.
But just when life seems like easy street there is a danger at your door. I am sad to report that there were indeed undercover police that looked liked festival-goers, some even looked like they were in bands. I know the Blue Ox festival isn't responsible, and that this is the work of the Eau Claire County sheriff's department. I couldn't think of a bigger waste of taxpayer dollars than to patrol a music festival. A message to law enforcement. A peaceful, joyous celebration of life such as the Blue Ox has no need for you busting people for having a good time. Do yourself and everyone a favor and go worry about some real problems, and if something happens, we'll call you. Okay, rant over, glad I got that off my chest.
Well festi-fam, that's all I have to say about the Blue Ox music festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Put this one your calendar for next year. I'll see you at the next one.. peace love and banjos to all.