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Friday, August 29, 2014

Hopstring Fest postscript

Chris Flood photo
By Ted Slowik

Hopstring Fest 2014 was a huge success! Despite rain that mucked up other area events, Joliet's premier summer festival for Americana music and craft beer entertained thousands in comfort, thanks to the concrete concourses of Joliet's Silver Cross Field.

I played a couple small roles in the festival. I was the first performer of the day on the Red Betty stage, which included such great acts as Allison Flood, J Ross Green, Dan Dougherty and Rebecca Rego. The Prairie Ghosts performed before me on the main stage, opening the festival. Triz and Kathy of Chicago Street Pub throw a great party!
Kevin Errek photo

I also helped publicize the event. I applied my PR skills to connect artists Allison and Chris Flood of Lockport, New Lenox's Kev Wright of The Righteous Hillbillies, Frankfort's Chase Walsh and Mokena's John Narcissi with reporters and photographers from their town's local newspapers. That helped get the word about Hopstring out to thousands of nearby fest-goers, so great thanks to 22nd Century Media for their community journalism!

A photographer from the Mokena Messenger came out and took pictures of several Hopstring performers including John Condron and Pat Otto, Jake Cullen and and Bridget Cavanaugh of the Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins at the Wednesday acoustic open mic at Tribes Alehouse before Hopstring, so that was great.

With Allison Flood. Chris Flood photo.
I had a great time performing a set of five originals from 11:35 a.m. to noon, before the rain. I played my mahogany Martin acoustic and used a Boss loop pedal to solo over a rhythm track. I opened with "Record Store" and "Mr. Deal," then Aly joined me for "Red Rover." I played "Sparks" and closed with the new tune "No Tomorrow" with a chorus of "Give Peace a Chance."

Jo and Noah were there, and Kev and Deb. Scott McNeil ran sound and Chris was managing the stage. I hung with Tim Placher, saw Chuck Pelkie, an old friend Jim Baker from our concrete days together, and a ton of musicians. I got to hang backstage with the guys from The Steepwater Band, Chicago Farmer and Edward David Anderson and met the world-renowned slam poet Roger Bonair-Agard thanks to Mark Eleveld and Ron Maruszak of EM Press

Kevin Errek photo
Kevin Errek took some great photos. I ran around between three, sometimes four stages, snapping pictures of the performers. I really didn't get much of chance to hear too many performers  but had a great time. I was sore for a couple days afterwards, my calves and back especially, but I recovered. 

It was great getting to know Kristin Barry, Dave Johnston, Pete Hegarty and Eric Johnson of Flipside Works better in the weeks leading up to the fest. I bought a very cool piece to wear around my neck from Sue Regis Glass Art. It's great living in a community that supports art, and making friends with all types of artists.

I also had fun writing about other artists and sharing their stories on this blog the past two months. This closes the chapter on Hopstring Fest 2014, and the next post will be about something completely different.