When I last left you, we (Chris, Jenny, and I) had arrived late and tired at the Florida Folk Festival campground, and I collapsed to get some rest for the next day. Well, Friday dawned bright and promising, and I secured the morning essential (coffee) to start waking up. Pretty soon my mother Renee and her banjo-playing brother, my uncle John Hedgecoth, arrived from Tallahassee and we all picked for a while to warm up. By "we all" I mean myself, Chris, and Jenny, plus John and Barbara Johnson, our bass player.
We'd barely gotten started when someone noticed that our friend Dale was scheduled to play a set at noon on the Seminole Stage, which is at the other end of the festival-- probably about a half-mile-- from the campground. We wanted to back him up. So we loaded ourselves and our instruments into a variety of vehicles and set out for the Seminole Stage.
Now, when you deal with creative personalities you're talking about people who sometimes don't see the point of making sure you arrive everywhere exactly on schedule. This is the case with Dale, one of the most brilliantly creative people I know. So when we all arrived at the Seminole Stage, ready to back him up for his set, he was nowhere to be seen. What to do? Well, we've backed Dale up a lot. When the time came to start his set, we just got up in front of the crowd and started singing his songs! We kicked it off with Dale's original song "Mangrove Buccaneer." The crowd (full of people who knew Dale) loved it. And when we had played about half of the set, who should come running in, guitar in hand, but Dale himself! Christopher was in the middle of singing "Tate's Hell," a wonderful Florida song and one of Dale's favorites, and Dale just took over the lead vocal from him to finish out with the last verse.
Dale sang several more, and it was time to finish the show. He had decided to end the set with "Mangrove Buccaneer" when one audience member (unfortunately) told him that we'd already sung it! It would have been so much fun if he'd gone ahead and done it again, unknowingly. But instead he finished up with his song "Apalachicola Doin' Time" (freshly topical these days with the Gulf oil disaster on peoples' minds), and we we back to the campground to rest and pick.
Our own set was at the same Seminole Stage at 3:30, so we loaded up again and made the trek. We had an excellent crowd, and played and sang many of our favorites, starting off with Chubby Anthony's "Foothills of Home" and finishing out with the old gospel favorite "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder," which I'm glad to say that many people sang along with. Then it was back to the campground and picking until the small hours.
Do you wonder why we do this? Well, who'd want to be anywhere else?