Report from Berea

I’m going to start by noting that my legs are a bit achey right now. It’s not that a specific muscle group is sore, but my upper legs are just kind of quietly reminding me of their presence. I probably shouldn’t be surprised, as there was much dancing this weekend and I managed to fit in a two-mile run on the hotel’s treadmill on Saturday night. I might have done the same on Friday night, if management hadn’t decided to prevent drunk people from using the pool (and, consequently, the little exercise room) at 4 am.

I have discovered that it is very difficult to be absolutely passionate about more than one band during a given weekend. I thought that having both the Prodigals and Seven Nations at the festival would be the best thing EVER, but discovered that I didn’t really have enough enthusiasm to do both concerts. So, I made my choice. We did all three Prodigals concerts and only one of the 7N ones (we had some road delays that prevented us from making it for the Friday show and I really, really wanted to start the drive back to Indianapolis on Sunday night, rather than staying for the last concert of the weekend).

The highlight was Saturday night. After the Seven Nations and Proddies shows, we had dinner, I ran, then we went downstairs to the hotel bar. It was packed with people both from the Irish festival (performers and attendees) and a wedding reception (props on the lovely bridesmaids dresses). I was wearing my camaflouge TEB’s Troops t-shirt (reminder: godsister with melanoma’s support network shirt), which somehow seemed to encourage drunk guys to read my chest and then make comments about said reading. “Ted” the groomsman was at least nice enough to come over and explain why he would be pointing my chest out to people all night long.

After the bar closed, Gregory and Eamon #2 from the Prodigals, Liam from the Hothouse Flowers and some other people sat down in the hallway and played until 6:30 in the morning. I did crash out about 5:30 (which is exceedingly late for me, anyway), but it was one of the coolest musical experiences I’ve had. Liam sang several songs in Gaelic, which were, as always, stunningly beautiful. He snuggles with his bodhran when he plays it and, by forsaking a stick, makes it sound like a gentle heartbeat. Anyway, I was impressed. Watching the two Prodigals trying to keep it together during the next day’s concert was also pretty darn amusing.

I absolutely love going to the Berea festival. It’s homey and kind of quaint, but that’s really part of it’s charm. Dublin (Columbus, OH) is much, much bigger, shinier and far more corporate. Berea’s “Celtic Thunder” (hee) stage is sheets of pressboard raised a couple of feet off the ground and their light is mostly provided by lightbulbs strung across the ceiling of the tent (although this year, they added a few fixed stage lights, too). Dublin’s stage is huge, the lights move (and generally shine in the audience’s eyes), but there’s a good ten foot barrier between the audience and the stage (with security guards posted in between). There’s nothing like Berea for feeling the connection between bands and audience (even further exemplified by the late night seisiun). Dublin’s probably going to be a day trip because they’ve got some great music, but the festival itself is just such a let-down.

The crowds were also wonderful (at least on Friday and Saturday). There were lots of roving bands of teenagers, many of them drunk or on their way to drunk, who were having such a good time at the shows. There were loads of guys willing to jump up and down and girls who were probably a bit more “friendly” then they should have been. But, you know, compared to the 40-something drunk women who usually end up throwing themselves at the band (or really, just Gregory…and yes, I am looking your direction, Byrne’s Pub), I was quite happy. Being with a crowd that was my own age was really great. Anyway, Good job Cleveland! I’ll miss you next year. 😦

Finally, without sounding too fan-girlish…they know my name! EEEEEEEE! *end moment* I’m also completely fine now with the new bassist, because Ed is just plain cool. The only thing that could have made this weekend better is if the Muppet had been able to come.

Wow, that was a long post about nothing particularly important. Especially for those of you who haven’t a clue what I’m talking about or who all of these people are. 🙂

Tonight I shall probably go to Blockbuster to get new “running” movies, attempt a bit faster of a run (although inside, because we’ve been having nasty hot weather) and do my laundry. Ahhhhh, what a life.

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