Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blast From the Bayou Festival - June 2012

I took the RV down to Preston, CT to attend the annual Blast From the Bayou Festival.  This is a three day music and dance festival that focuses on Cajun and Zydeco music.  Most of the bands are from Louisiana and most of the attendees are there to dance.  This was my 5th year attending, but it was the first for taking the new RV.  Anne had to work so I went solo – using it as a test voyage for the new RV and to shake the rust off my dancing mojo.

Preston is about 90 miles south from our home.  It’s a short drive and the venue, a nice full service campground, is about 5 miles from the Foxwoods casino.   The lure of the casino and some good food options pulled me into Foxwoods for a few hours the first day.   I should have left after the first hour when I doubled my money, but greed and too much time to kill made me stay longer.   The roulette wheel took back my winnings and then some and I left with only a good dinner in my stomach.  

The new RV was easy to set up.  I had a nice level site with full hook ups (electricity, water, sewer, and cable).   Plug in the power cord, hook up the cable and water and that’s it.   The weather was nice and mild with temps in the mid 70’s.  No need to use the A/C, I just opened the windows and put the ceiling fan on the thermostat.

 The first night had just three bands – one Cajun and two Zydeco.  I hadn’t done any dancing since December, and was a little anxious since I hadn’t done any serious dancing for over 10 months and it had been another year before that.  But it’s like riding a bike.   After a couple waltzes and zydeco two steps all the timing and moves came back.  It’s amazing how something that took a few years to master and doesn’t get used for several months comes right back. 

Having attended this festival for a few years, I’ve gotten to know several people who also attend.   This festival has a large following of regular attendees from all over the country.  It has groups from New York, Providence, and Philadelphia.  I met dancers from California and Florida.  The attendees are also mostly older, with most folks being in their 50’s and most having grey hair.   

One of my friends, Peter, made this comment as I greeted him and his wife on the dance floor. “Look at these folks, Jim – they all have grey hair like us.”   He was right.  On the dance floor in front of us were no 20 somethings or even 30 somethings.  No gen X’s or gen Y’s.  Just a bunch of folks from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s who never lost their love for some good dance music.

On Friday, we had 11 hours of non-stop dance music.  The Pine Leaf Boys and Geno Delafose were the big draws.  The Pine Leaf Boys take the sound of traditional Cajun and Creole music and jack it up on steroids.   They have a unique sound and it is infectious dancing music.   

Geno and his band French Rockin Boogie are one of the best Zydeco bands in the country.  They have a tight sound and with heavy rhythms.  When Geno’s playing your feet don’t stop tapping.    

Geno Delfose and French Rockin Boogie
On Friday, I paced myself and took a break every few dances to rest and rehydrate.  I quit early (8:30 pm) because my feet and hips were sore.

A few comments about the RV and some things I acquired to help with comfort.  The first is packing for my clothes.  On another blog site, I had seen a review for packable cube bags from eBags.  These are small briefcase size nylon bags you use to pack your cloths.  Instead of a large suitcase or duffel bags, I use 2-3 of the packable cubes for my clothes.  They work great in the RV because they easily fit into any of the storage compartments.  Instead of a large bag, you’ve got 2 or 3 smaller bags which fit anywhere.

The other accessory is the RV Superbag.   This is a large sleeping bag made out of two comforters that are zippered together with sheets that fit inside and are Velcro attached to the comforters.  One side is made out of a light weight comforter and the other side is a heavier weight comforter.  In hot weather you use it with the lighter weight on top.  In cold weather you just flip it over and use the heavier weigh on top.   It’s perfect for the RV because with the AC or heater its easy to manage the temperature in the unit so you don’t need anything  heavy.    And it’s easy to set up – you just unroll it and the bed is made up.  Roll it up in the morning and its put away. 

Saturday was mostly spent dancing.  First with Geno again,  Keith Frank Soileau Zydeco Band Family band, which had Kieth’s sister brother and kids in the band.  The little guy on the accordian played every song in the set.

Keith Frank Soileau Zydeco Band
There was L’il Wayne & Same Ole Two Step and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.  Steve Riley has a great sound with lots of good melodic waltz's and two steps.  His band is always a favorite with the dancers.  I made it another early night so I could watch the Celtics play.  Too bad they lost.

Sunday was more ancing, but I only danced a few numbers as I wanted to get packed up and headed home in the early afternoon.   

Overall, it was a good trip.  Everything worked fine with the RV and I got comfortable with a daily living routine.  The dancing was also great.

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