Monday, September 1, 2014

Allons Danser! - The Rhythm & Roots Music Festival

Yeah!!!!  I made it back for my 15th year attending the Rhythm & Roots Music Festival in Charlestown, RI.  This is an annual festival of roots music with a heavy leaning towards music from Louisiana.  I attended last year but was not feeling all that well.  At that time, I was anemic, had no stamina, had lost a lot of weight, and my colitis was flaring.  In car terms, I was a wreck, tore up.  But a year later, the anemia was gone, I got my weight back, and I had lots more energy.  The colitis was still acting up on some days and I know when my "witching hours" are, but I was determined to come to the festival and have a good time.
The weather forecast was terrific for the Labor Day weekend.  I came down a couple of days early to spend a day at the beach and make my annual trek to the Foxwoods Casino (annual gambling foray to get it out of my system).  The beach stay was great (see my blog entry on the Charlestown Breachway).  And for once, it was my lucky day at the casino.  The roulette pill kept landing on my numbers  and most of my horse picks at Saratoga came in.  The gambling Gods did their part to contribute to a positive weekend and now I'm good for another year.

I spent Thursday night at Burlingame State Park, which is pretty much right across the street from the festival.  It has a huge campground and its convenient for getting a shower and dumping the holding tanks prior to entering the festival.  I arrived at the festival gate early (5:40 am!) so I could get in line to get in another line to get a good spot in the RV section of the camping area.  It filled up quickly but I got a good spot near the entrance with some good neighbors.  Setting up was so easy with my new RV.  Just put the awning out, lay down a patio rug, pull out some chairs, and hook up the solar panel.  I was done within 20 minutes.

Here are a couple of pictures from the campground.

The line up at 7:00 am waiting to get into the festival
J. Dawg's campsite

The music started Friday evening and I quickly sought out the Dance Tent.  I hadn't danced in a while, but it all came back.  Waltz, Two Step, Swing, and Zydeco. Its like riding a bike.  I was able to meet up with friends who I hadn't seen in a year.  Over the next three days, I got in several dances with my friends Jeni, Vicki, Francine, Tricia, and Cyd.  After last year, it felt so great to be able to spend time on the dance floor with them.

Here are some pictures from the festival and with some of my dancing partners (my wife was sick and couldn't attend the festival otherwise she'd be listed and shown as my most favorite dance partner).

The Dance Tent

Main Stage seating area

I always like to see the new artists or groups that I haven't seen before. My favorites this year where Elizabeth Cook with her quirky stage humor and she sang some great country originals.  Sarah Potenza sang her heart felt blues with that big powerful voice of hers.  And I enjoyed seeing seeing some of Cajun music's royalty (Savoy, Toups, and Riley) playing the traditional music unplugged in The Band Courtboullion.  Here are some pictures of the artists.

Cajun music royalty - Will Savoy on fiddle, Wayne Toups of accordion, and Steve Riley on guitar

Sarah Potenza

Elizabeth Cook
The Pine Leaf Boys
The festival lasted through Sunday evening.  With all the dancing and walking, my hips and feet were so sore that I ended up leaving on Sunday afternoon.

It had been a perfect weekend.  The weather was great.  I walked out with a bunch of the Casino's money.  And, I had so much fun at the festival.  A lot of it was because it was relative to last year.  Also, because I lost so many friends this year due to unexpected deaths it made me seek out and appreciate spending time with my dancing friends.  Sometimes, these good moments can be fleeting so when they happen in the present, it makes me savor them so much more.


  1. Hi Jim ~

    I'm not usually one to post comments ... but I felt so honored to be included in your list of dance partners, that I wanted to say Hello, hope to keep in touch, and tell you what a delight it was to dance with YOU at the festival ;- }

    You are a wonderful dancer and a consummate gentleman. And a pretty good writer too, as it turns out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your photos on the blog. Good stuff.

    Best of luck on your travels, and I'll look forward to the next opportunity to dance with you. Maybe you'll be at the Feathersite party next weekend? Or maybe at Tom & Robin's barn party in October?

    Warm Wishes,

    1. Hey Cyd,
      Nice to hear from you. Thanks for the kind words. Over the years, good dance partners have turned into good friends and I really enjoy spending time with them. Its always nice and lots of fun to dance with you.
      I try to write on a regular basis and this is the best place to see what I'm up to. Right now my RV needs a repair so I'm grounded for the next couple of weeks and not sure what I have planned for Oct (maybe a trip to Alabama). Here's an email to contact me directly;
      Thanks again,