Gathering of the Vibes | 08.09 - 08.12

Words by: Brian Bavosa :: Images by: Adam McCullough

Gathering of the Vibes :: 08.09.07 – 08.12.07 :: Seaside Park :: Bridgeport, CT

GOTV 2007
Twelve years to the day after the passing of Jerry Garcia, the longest running festival that draws on his inspiration opened its gates and welcomed another summer. This year, the 12th annual The Gathering of the Vibes, brainchild of Ken Hays, formerly of Terrapin Tapes, and Bob Kennedy, returned to a newly revamped Seaside Park. The Vibes was held at this scenic location on the Long Island Sound back in '99 and '00, after a few detours through other locales, mostly in upstate New York. With four full days of music it was time to slap on the sunscreen and conjure up the spirit of the man who left us 12 years ago.

THURSDAY

When first stepping into Seaside Park, it's hard to not to be overwhelmed by the truly scenic surroundings. It is the perfect arrangement with two main stages directly next to each other – the Terrapin Stage and a green, cosmic Band Shell Stage that has been a staple of the park since being founded by circus maestro P.T. Barnum. Speaking of ringleaders, Wavy Gravy again made his presence felt by acting as occasional MC, and leader of the traveling circus known as the "Vibe Tribe" that attends the event each year.

In addition to the main stages, there were two others, the Solar Beach Stage located right by the entrance on the sand, which saw The Indobox, Fungus Amungus and others perform on Thursday. Another tradition, The Sound Stage, usually located in the non-profit village, saw dear friends of the Vibes, The Juggling Suns, The Kind Bids and David Gans perform throughout the weekend.

DSO :: GOTV 2007
However, after U-Melt and John Brown's Body performed in the afternoon it was time for "The Tribute to Jerry", led by Dark Star Orchestra. No matter what your stance on tribute bands, these guys do the Grateful Dead cannon justice. From the first set closing "Help on the Way" > "Slipknot" > "Franklin's Tower" to the downright disco sounding "Dancing in the Streets," it was clear on this night that the "music played the band," and they certainly had a little help from above. Parts of this show were highlighted by the first of many appearances by Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay.

DSO offered one of, if not, the strongest performance of the entire weekend. The second set was unique and powerful, while being perfectly played and spanning the entire repertoire of songs and eras. If nothing else, it set the bar high for the rest of the weekend. A fitting "Ripple" sent us on our way, with one final Jerry smile echoing throughout the final line: "If I knew the way, I would take you home." This Thursday at the Vibes Jerry certainly led us there.

FRIDAY

Trevor Garrod - TLG :: GOTV 2007
Unlike the previous day, there was hardly a breather set on the main stages at any point. Fast rising stars Tea Leaf Green exploded with their West Coast, fun-loving rock, with veterans Steve Kimock, Greg Anton, Martin Fierro and the rest of Zero close on their heels. Zero's set featured favorites such as "Catalina" and "Chance in a Million," and even had an introduction from Wavy Gravy, which had many seeing psychedelic elephants courtesy of this far, far out circus.

Railroad Earth slowed things down a little with their bluegrass picking, followed by the drawl of ex-Allman Brother Dickey Betts and his band, Great Southern.

The second official member of the Grateful Dead family to play throughout the weekend was Mickey Hart. He led his all-star ensemble consisting of Kimock, Godchaux-MacKay, former Deep Banana Blackout singer Jen Durkin, and The Meters' bassist George Porter Jr. through such nuggets as the rap-version of "Fire on the Mountain."

George Clinton :: GOTV 2007
The climax Friday night came with the one-two punch of funk pioneers, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and hometown heroes Deep Banana Blackout. Clinton and company "tore the roof of the sucka," and even though Clinton has lost a little pop over the years he still managed to get folks dancing. When DBB hit the stage, in full suits, and with Sam Kininger on the sax, they sounded as dapper as they looked. Their set was a tribute to James Brown. Tearing through the Godfather's catalog, DBB proved that if Clinton has gotten too tired to carry the funk torch, they would have no problem running the next leg of the race. Mix that with a powerful homecoming - DBB hails from Bridgeport - and Friday night's blowout was more than enough to push away the pouring rain that came earlier in the day, and keep the masses warm when temperatures dipped low. I can just picture Jerry and James Brown together side by side in the heavens after these tributes.

SATURDAY

Plain and simple, Saturday was a day for GOTV veterans. Strangefolk, Assembly of Dust, Donna Jean & the Tricksters, Les Claypool and Bob Weir & RatDog all graced the stage.

Keller Williams :: GOTV 2007
Highlights included Reid Genauer and AOD's take on Oasis' "Champagne Supernova" and a set closing "Roads." Strangefolk offered a high-energy set that brought me back full circle to their performances here in '99 and '00, ironically enough, when Genauer was still the frontman. Godchaux-MacKay led the Tricksters through their first-ever take of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky," which was very well received. Keller Williams closed out the afternoon. As has been the standard this summer, Keller was joined by Weir for several tunes including "Brown Eyed Women" and "Scarlet Begonias."

Some of the most anticipated performances still lay ahead that evening. A near mirror image of the night sets here in 2000; Saturday was closed out by Claypool and RatDog. Claypool's set was everything the man represents - captivating, thumping and borderline scary. Wearing his patented pig mask, Claypool played a bassjo, which is a mix between a banjo and a bass. It featured Claypool's typical slap bass but with a twist that almost had him playing lead lines. His set even managed to throw in a pronounced "Other One" tease in a nod to what would follow a little later. The set eventually saw entrances by RatDog's Jay Lane, Jeff Chimenti, both of whom have worked with Claypool in the past, and Kenny Brooks. They ran through "D's Diner" and an encore of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows."

Bob Weir :: GOTV 2007
RatDog was the final band of the evening, and kicked off their first set with a jam that morphed into the always-welcome "Shakedown Street." However, that would be one of the few high points since the next three hours were a little flat, slow, and, at times, lifeless. Not an entirely bad performance but I felt the crowd was ready to rock a bit more than Weir wanted to. One bright spot was the crystal clear guitar work of Kimock, who was still subbing for ailing guitarist Mark Karan this summer. Keller emerged for "Eyes of the World," and Godchaux-MacKay took honors for most time logged on stage over the weekend after lending her voice to a cover of "Come Together," "Ripple" (so what if it was played twice, on this of all weekends!) and the obvious call, "One More Saturday Night," which finished things with a frenzy.

Overall, Saturday stood out as a most enjoyable day, with perfect weather, a slight breeze from the water, and most of the acts that have come to define the Vibes over the past decade-plus.

SUNDAY

The Wailers :: GOTV 2007
Sunday's lineup was exactly what it should be - somewhat lazy, very eclectic and sprinkled with the divine. Opening up with a very interesting set by Kevin Hays, brother of festival promoter Ken, he explored the world of jazz on piano for the early risers. Rounded out by a full band, this was a nice way to kick off the final day.

Martin Sexton delighted fans with a light, fluffy set. It is undeniable the influence this man has had on Keller over the years, as their sounds are very similar. I spent most of his set in the shade of the VIP tent, sipping a few frosty brews and letting his voice carry my closed eyes and head to a more peaceful paradise.

Buddy Guy :: GOTV 2007
If island paradises were what you were looking for there was a makeshift version at the Solar Stage, where jam and pop got together, had a child and named it Scarecrow Collection. A very focused, fun local band, they carried over the good vibe from Sexton as my feet dug into the sand during their cover of "Mustang Sally." The Breakfast, who have also made a name for themselves in the Connecticut area over the past few years, followed. I stuck around to see a little of their guitar shredding set until I was called back to the main stage for the infectious reggae of The Wailers. If I thought I would escape Sunday free of religious music, I was wrong. True to their brother, Bob Marley, The Wailers knocked out hit after hit and soothed the soul with the powerful words of Jah.

Another undeniable highlight of this year's Vibes was Buddy Guy, the weekend's last act on the Bandshell Stage. Guy's polka dotted guitar and blues licks are something that I consider a "must hear." His set even included nods to Jimi Hendrix (a "Voodoo Chile" tease) and Eric Clapton. The main stage was closed out by Los Lobos, easily earning Sunday the medal for "most eclectic day." Their oft-played take on "Bertha" was a nice way to cap off this Grateful Dead heavy weekend.

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Comments

cliffcliffordjr starstarstarstarstar Fri 8/24/2007 06:29PM
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cliffcliffordjr

Double B. As usual, spot on! Tell me, how is it we didn't run into eachother this weekend ... ? Oh, well, there was 20,000 other phreaks to run into. Next ... ? MOEDOWN. Drop a line back at me bud, we gotta meet up in the beer tent. Peace.

rulosa01 Fri 8/24/2007 06:32PM
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nice write-up. no mention that the breakfast set on sunday was the first set the band played with their new keyboardist, which is ill shit. that claypool set was pretty fuckin real

cliffcliffordjr Fri 8/24/2007 06:34PM
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cliffcliffordjr

Oh Yea, Adam, nice shots. Didn't mean to leave ya out. Way to go fellas. Peace.

Deadheadrt starstarstarstar Fri 8/24/2007 06:57PM
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Deadheadrt

was there, it was a pretty damn tight weekend. shoulda wrote a little more about betts and such, don't agree with the RatDog review the show was pretty damn stellar in my opinion, and the opinion of those around me.

rowdiex starstarstarstar Sat 8/25/2007 09:12AM
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rowdiex

Great times had in Bridgeport, will be there next year for sure. Check out the pics we got, http://razafilms.com/gallery/v/gathering-of-the-vibes/?g2_page=1

RRE, AOD, DBB, RATDOG, INDOBOX, CLAYPOOL, and THE FUNKADELIC all brought the heat!!!!!!!!!

SkiNose1 starstar Sat 8/25/2007 10:53AM
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The author of this article wasn't listening very closely to Ratdog. It was stellar. Download it at archive if you don't believe me. Just cause the music had a slow pace doesn't mean it wasn't good. We can't all be tweaking or rolling at mach speed like Jimmy Herring and his deedly dee. Some of us like the spacey between the notes stuff that fits well with a head full of LSD.

SenaterXConPepe Sat 8/25/2007 12:17PM
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SenaterXConPepe

Buddy Guy was one of the coolest shows I've ever been a part of. I've never seen a guitarist so in love with the crowd and his fans. Dissappeared from the stage for a second and showed up in the crowd next to me and some buddies, we were just watching him rip a solo inches away from us. That is just crazy stuff right there.

scooterdjembe starstarstarstarstar Sat 8/25/2007 08:11PM
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scooterdjembe

I loved this festy had a blast. Good review nice pics too. I enjoyed two nice drum circles on thursday and friday in the west camping area that added to the late nite fun anyone else remember those?

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/27/2007 06:42AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

its Reid GENAUER!!!

and yes BUDDY GUY IS WORTH EVERY PENNY IT COSTS TO SEE HIM!!!

MatthewAtienza Mon 8/27/2007 07:20AM
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MatthewAtienza

Sounds ike a good festival, I have got to make it out to this one next year.

delaneyira star Mon 8/27/2007 07:52AM
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Piss poor writing. Were you really even there? I knew what bands were there, i read the lineup. Tell me something about the fest... Buddy guy was the fest closer and theres only one sentence about it? Donna jean should be banned from singing into a mic. She ruined so many dead songs...

johnnygoff Mon 8/27/2007 11:51AM
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johnnygoff

usually a fan of Bavosa's writing...it appeared either too much time was spent grooving and not writing or else jambase editorial had a field day editing this piece. I was unable to make this year's GOTV and was really looking forward to reading about it. However, I think I could have gotten a more personal review of the weekend's activities just by looking at the band schedule online. What happened here? no first-person stories? No personal faves or highlights? no Opinions on who deserved to be noticed or deserved to be criticized? thanks for the review but I hope there's more of that personal touch Bavosa is good for in his next piece. cheers.

allovernow starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/27/2007 12:57PM
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I disagree.... He, I thought was very clear on what he thought. You might not agree but here is what I read. DSO was maybe if not the best performance of the festival. Ratdog was So So.... Buddy Guy was another highlight...... Looking at the band schedule doesn't speak for the quality of the music performed. I for one agree that DSO was the surprise of the festival... They proved to me that they are NOT a cover band but rather keepers of the spirit that I love so.... They played with heart and conviction...... I felt itin the audience... Isn't that what music is all anyway........?

gibbons starstarstar Tue 8/28/2007 06:08AM
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This is not how I remembered this festival. This is what got out of it.

Highlights:

1. Deep Banana Blackout- no better tribute to the godfather of soul, they were on fire

2. Claypool- Sick and more sick, Up on the roof again

3.Zero- great solid show

4.PFUNK- nottin’ but a party y’all

5. Assembly of the Dust- Nate Wilson

I took a mess of photos. Check them out here- http://marinerphotography.com/gotv/ It takes them a while to load, so be patient. Vote Dubie! Great time. See you next year.

tourfan Tue 8/28/2007 07:07AM
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As a fellow contributor here, I will add this. It’s hard to get everything that you want to get in the article, and then turn it in on a deadline. It is our aim to get the review turned in as quickly as we can and out to you, our readers whom may not have made it to the fest. If we take the time to write in more detail about each artist/and band we’ve seen, it can easily turn into a 3000 diatribe that doesn't get turned in till it's no longer relevant. I do think that some more detail about some of the festival Highs and lows could've been added, in favor of some of the "so what's" being left out. But I do think that Brian has written a readable piece that does provide a nice synopsis of the weekend. Adam’s pics are a great compliment to the article. Thanks Brian and Adam.

cubzfan18 starstarstar Tue 8/28/2007 09:34AM
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also: It is "canon" not "Cannon." I learned my homonyms in 5th grade. either way the fest sounds like a great time and I would have liked to have made it. Maybe next year.

shamasuva starstarstarstarstar Tue 8/28/2007 11:34AM
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I have to say, GOTV at Seaside Park was a very very special event. While this event doesn't have the star power of a Bonnaroo or 10KLF, it is a really well run event, a close community, and a heck of a good time. Looking forward to next year.

tubby11 Tue 8/28/2007 11:44AM
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wish i could have been there this year.

johnnygoff starstar Tue 8/28/2007 01:05PM
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johnnygoff

hey tourfan, note taken about the piece. but just callin a spade a spade here. Have seen a lot more 'in-depth' on Bavosa's other pieces, that were also on deadline (also experienced it firsthand writing)so that doesn't hold any h20 with me this time. Great festival, great writer, great site, so-so review. you can't win 'em all.

SenaterXConPepe Tue 8/28/2007 01:48PM
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SenaterXConPepe

Had a great drum jam on the beach saturday night that lasted till the sun came up- called ourselves SWEET CORN SALAD- if you were the mandolin player from missouri, send me an e-mail man, it'd be great to jam again.

PoppaBakes starstarstar Tue 8/28/2007 04:11PM
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PoppaBakes

Seaside Park was BEAUTIFUL! Even if you dont like jam bands, you could not help but have a great time there. Miles of waterfront, saturday was in the 80s and sunny... im happy i went

PoppaBakes Tue 8/28/2007 04:14PM
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PoppaBakes

forgot to mention that john browns body and p-funk KILLED it. ive seen better from claypool, and ratdog was about a 7 out of 10.

deadhead7 starstarstarstarstar Thu 8/30/2007 10:49AM
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seriously this article makes me wanna cry for not being there! i love GoTV and this article kills me now!

jpenney Thu 8/30/2007 06:20PM
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Got to admit: I must have been a different show, because Ratdog was simply awesome this night: Shakedown opener, Easy to Slip/Eyes of the World, etc. They sounded great, morphing into a incredible jam/jazz band and, like good wine, getting better with age!

bigfro Fri 8/31/2007 04:22AM
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bigfro

I really wanted to enjoy John Brown's Body, but I felt like I was listening to a VH1 best looking pop stars concert. The music was very soft and predictable. I love Bobby's 2nd set, but the first set killed the energy and tripped me out a little for Saturday night to be so lackluster. Also Kimmock should stop sitting in a chair. It kills the energy of the crowd. He must be tired or self important like John Butler

bigfro Fri 8/31/2007 04:24AM
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bigfro

Darkstar was better than Bobby, maybe the best of the weekend.

SkiNose1 Fri 8/31/2007 10:46AM
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My Ratdog Review.

Because it was AWESOME.

I understand if some of you think DSO was better. But that's just a travesty. At best a cover band. Sure they were tight. And they played the hits. But Bobby's band is the best thing out there. His first and second set were tight. Sorry all you people didn't hear what I heard.

The Easy to Slip>Supplication>Dark Star>Shakedown>Eyes was amazing. Lots of classic bobby.

SkiNose1 Fri 8/31/2007 10:47AM
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BTW, Kimock sits because.. A. One of his guitars weighs a ton. And B. Because he gets so into the music he needs to sit or he'll fall over from bliss. Truth.

SkiNose1 Fri 8/31/2007 11:47AM
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BTW, Kimock sits because.. A. One of his guitars weighs a ton. And B. Because he gets so into the music he needs to sit or he'll fall over from bliss. Truth.

pizzajunior Sat 9/1/2007 09:55PM
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This was my first Gathering and most certainly won't be my last, I had a blast. DSO was on point and in my eyes was the highlight of the festival (I think the LSD was a contributer). I am sure Jerry was smiling up there looking down on their performance. I must say though, Ratdog let me down. I have seen him a few times and have enjoyed his shows in the past. This performance was a little weak and songs were dragggeed out a bit much. Me and my buddy left early on that one. I guess I had high expectations. On another note George Clinton and Les Claypool were phenomonal.

guitardave starstar Wed 9/5/2007 01:07PM
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guitardave

Dark Star Orchestra IS A (good) COVER BAND!, nothing more and nothing less. To say they are better than Ratdog is like saying a Volkswagen is better than a Porsche. Kimock is such a great player but he does come off as a lame-o when he sits down.

TraderDan (djc) starstar Mon 9/10/2007 06:29PM
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TraderDan (djc)

Decent enough write-up I guess, but definitely left me dissappointed considering there wasn't even a single mention of the Ryan Montbleau Band... no bueno. These guys have been absolutely killin' it at The Vibes now for 3 years runnin', not to mention how they got Saturday started off RIGHT... sunshine 'n' everything.

Seriously though, how could a main-stage act not at least be listed/mentioned when running through the Saturday line-up?.. let alone a band that got THAT many of the Vibe Tribe up and out of their tents so early!?

All ranting aside, I had myself an amazing time at this years Vibes. The line-up was great all weekend long, and thankfully the weather turned out pretty sweet as well. And I must admit that Seaside Park and the city of Bridgeport was a far better setting and host than I ever anticipated.....

peas.

Risingsuntara star Tue 9/11/2007 06:28AM
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I have been going to Gathering of the Vibes for over 10 years and was always under the impression that it is a place that people can be tuned onto music they have never heard before while also seeing the "bigger" and better known bands.

Ryan Montbleau Band exploded onto the stage Saturday morning, bringing an amazing high energy perfromance that set a tone for my whole weekend. Disappointing that you would overlook a huge part of what Vibes is about - the music - and a band that has become a must see at every Vibes and every show they play for that matter.

kellerbuzz Thu 9/13/2007 01:16PM
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yeah! it used to be about the new bands and the big name bands, now its just about the big names. its like i dont even now you anymore mr. jambase article. now i am going to cry and write about my feelings in my poem book

tompatrizio starstarstar Sun 9/16/2007 03:52PM
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I disagree with the Ratdog review. I myself, am not the biggest fan of Ratdog, what a great setlist. The weekend so awsome. i didnt want to leave. Who ever came up with the idea of ILOCC. i live like 15 minutes away from there. what a shit hole it is.

Laur18 starstar Tue 9/18/2007 10:05AM
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GOTV was my FIRST big festival. It was a good time (great music, obviously) - but don't think I'll ever go there again unless I get VIP camping (as many have suggested). There are way too many 'dark vibes', and conflict for me at what's supposed to be a Festival of MUSIC, peace, love, unity.

I WAS STOKED to see the locals on their porches (by the baseball field) listening to the music.

And i do agree, was the author of this article there? The local paper in bridgeport put out a GREAT article about the festival. Wish i had copy...

bigdeadheadluke15 starstarstar Mon 9/24/2007 09:42AM
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bigdeadheadluke15

what an amazing weekend haha DSO did absolutley kill it but ive seen them a bunch of times now and theyve only ever dissapointed me once and that was the first time i saw them in vermont, and for the saturday reviews mickey hart was deffinatley amazing so was george clinton but LES CLAYPOOL was just out of this world i cant even begin to describe him, and for the review of bobby and ratdog i can't agree with him i thought they were stellar loved the show i've seen them more than most other bands and i thought it was a DAMN good show especially if anyone went to the show with the allman bros at darien lake a week or two later NOW THAT WAS A WEAK ASS SHOW FROM BOBBY AND THE BOYS not the vibes show for the most part a good article but i dont agree with ratdog's review

jaghabpv starstarstar Mon 10/1/2007 11:47PM
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jerryg1942 Fri 10/19/2007 01:47PM
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first festival and one of the best times of my life