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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of August 6 - 12, 2003


Folk festival
rocks in rain

Express Staff Writer

Wet, wild and wickedly fun, the 26th Annual Northern Rockies Folk Festival did more than entertain. It seemed to induce the summer’s first real rainstorm, which lasted for over two hours Saturday night.

The show on Friday featured the Zydeco Flames, who did their share of getting the crowd out of their seats. The Austin, Texas, band, the Derailers, finished the evening playing with flair and finesse.

On Saturday, after several enjoyable sets by the bands CowBlues and Deadline Ridge, the Flames again took the stage. Playing a mix of rock and Zydeco with old chestnuts like "Hey Pokey Way," "Jock-a-Mo" and "Stir It Up," the band forced the party into high gear.

Then the rains came. First, concertgoers danced as though the rain was because of their joy and for their benefit. One of the longtime festival organizers Pete Kramer urged folks to get up and dance. It was the only way not to mind being wet, and he was right.

But it went on a long time and by the time Saturday night’s headliner Sam Bush— the mandolin master of the world—took the stage with his amazing band, everyone was just plum soaked.

Blankets, chairs and bags were sodden. Large umbrellas went up under which swarms of people took refuge. Mud spots began looking like good old-fashioned Woodstock slide areas. Hair was bedraggled.

But did any of this quell the excitement and the appreciation for the music?

Not a chance, because the folks in Hailey just hung in and danced all night. In fact, it was the first time in 26 years that such inclement weather threatened the festival.

And then, Sam and the band brought about some kind of supernatural occurrence while singing a medley of gospel tunes, including The Staples Singers’, "I’ll Take You There."

En masse the crowd and the band sang:

"I know a place

Ain't nobody cryin'

Ain't nobody worried

Ain't no smilin' faces

Lyin' to the races

Help me, come on, come on

Somebody, help me now

I'll take you there."

And then came a large rolling thunder above. The audience and band looked up, laughed right back in the sky’s face and sang all the louder.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.