Meg Noble Peterson

Author of Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy? An Intimate Journey through Africa and Asia

IT’S BROILING IN NEW JERSEY, BUT TAKE HEART…THERE’S MUSIC TO MAKE YOU FORGET YOUR DISCOMFORT. FOLK FESTIVALS ABOUND FROM THE EAST TO THE WEST COAST AND PROVE THAT SUMMER HEAT CANNOT DAMPEN THE HUMAN SPIRIT….

Having just returned from the cool woods and even cooler waters of Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, I’m about to join with fellow Maplewoodians to experience the magic of this year’s Maplewoodstock , a panoply of bands and entertainers from rock to folk and pop to funk, performing to eager listeners dotting the grassy park in the center of town. It’s a lovely two days of fun for the whole family, produced by my son-in-law, Gary Shippy, whose band, Walk the Dog, will also perform. There’s a colorful bazaar of goodies to tempt the artistic and the hungry, and a fellowship of kindred souls who just love being surrounded by good music. Now, if only the predicted thundershowers will hold off it will be perfect.

To prove that there are still pristine, unspoiled places on this earth, I’m possting a few sunset shots from the Noble Cottage on good old Lake Winnie, the largest lake in New England, still clear and sandy-bottomed as in my childhood days.

Before going to New Hampshire I attended the annual Mt. Laurel Autoharp Gathering held in late June at Little Buffalo State Campground in Newport, PA. This was the celebration of twenty years of gatherings, and organized by the dynamic duo, Coleen and Neal Walters, themselves members of Doofus, a lively old-time band using guitar, autoharp, mountain and hammered dulcimer, fiddle, banjo, and acoustic bass. This gives you an idea of the versatility of the music presented and played from morning ‘til night (try 3 AM).  I have some neat videos of the proceedings, which I still don’t know how to mount on this blog, but I also have a few pictures taken toward the end of the festival, showing friends and performers. For an extensive coverage of the Autoharp Hall of Fame presentation (this year going to the fabulous John Hollandsworth) and the contest of champions, won, again, by Lucille Reilly, on her diatonic autoharp, visit the Mt. Laurel website.

Lucille Reilly

A list of performers includes Hello Stranger (Dale &Teresa Jett and Oscar Harris). Dale is the grandson of country legends A.P and Sara Carter, with roots in the Carter family tradition; Julie & Carol Pagter with Country Ham, an old-time, bluegrass and gospel band; Ivan Stiles, an award-winning autoharpist whom I met many years ago while I was writing my autoharp method books; Rick Fitzgerald, last year’s autoharp champion; and Lindsay Haisley, a premier musician who has set the Texas music world and every autoharp gathering in the country on fire with his stunning performances. He always plays my favorite Willie Nelson hit, Crazy, on his chromatic autoharp. There aint’ nothin’ like it! Trust me.

Lindsay Haisley

...with his wife, Cheryl DeHut

Who says married couples don't have fun?

Mike Fenton from England, autoharper extraordinaire, who taught the pre-festival workshop

Mike with wife, Rachel, on the mountain dulcimer

Once again, I stayed with my friends, Carole and Fisk Outwater in their RV. This year we were joined by the expert mountain dulcimer performer and author, Lois Hornbostel, who joined Carol, Fisk, Nadine Shah-White, and the well known rock singer from England, Bob Fish, in a rousing and hysterical presentation of the late ’50’s, early ’60’s tune, Teenager in Love.  Take a look.

Nadine, Lois, Bob, Carole, and Fisk

Ian and Nadine Shah-White performing at a workshop

Ian and Nadine Shah-White performing at their workshop

Carole Outwater and Michael Poole jamming in the yard

Jamming with the dog

Heather Smith Farrell-Roberts. These English sure love long names! Heather plays a sweet autoharp

Dale Jett and Oscar Harris on stage...great country sound!

June Maugery, 1996 champion

Mike Herr, 1998 & 2004 champion, still going strong

Jammin' at Mike's

On Monday I leave for my yearly visit to Seattle and Whidbey Island, where my daughter, Cary, lives…and for a new adventure with Jon Pollack, my Himalayan buddy. It’s back to Canada, again, this time to explore and climb on Vancouver Island. There will be plenty of stories and plenty of pictures. So keep tuned all you mountaineers. After that, it’s the Whites.

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2 Comments

  1. Dear Meg, wonderful photos’of the sun setting! Enjoy today at the Maplewoodstock!
    Here in Eindhoven we have a comparable festival in August named Folkwoods festival; it is an intimate festival and very nice to be and relax and enjoy. This year we aren’t there, we are in France with Joris’ son and family.

    And say hello to Cary for us!
    I will mail you one of these days!
    love Trees

  2. Gee, Meg, if you get to Whidby Island, you could just cruise on up to visit me, too . . . Anchorage is having a beautiful summer, and lots of action. We have the cancer golf tournament this week, plus the Petroleum Club annual golf tournament, but there’s plenty of other things to keep you off the streets, or on the streets. Farmers Markets all over, and tourists crowd the street as some ships dock right downtown now. We have flowers bloomin’ all over the place, and you simply must come! So there . ..

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