2. Volunteering has its rewards

| April 16, 2014 | Reply


(Not sure what I’m going to do about photos for these little blurbs, and I’m a great believer in artwork with every article. I’ll figure something out.)


You might have guessed it — it was a musician, the man of my dreams (at the time), that got me started in it all. After divorcing and moving to El Paso, I met a musician, let’s call him B.F. for short, who was also a schoolteacher, as I was at the time. He had a great little band, all involved in the Redneck Rock/Progressive Country movement that took Texas by storm — the first incarnation of reinvention of Texas music since Bob Wills. B.F.. was also a big fan of the 60s folk musicians. At that time, I was just a big fan of not being married!

At that same time, the Chamizal National Park, one of only two national parks dedicated to the performing arts, hosted a yearly festival that included not only the new Texas music, but also Cajun, Celtic, Conjunto, blues, jazz, bluegrass, salsa. They brought it all. Tiny little glitch —they needed volunteers, thus the beginning of the El Paso Friends of Folk Music.  And the beginning of my volunteering at festivals.

Now, B.F.. was also a songwriter, and two of his songs got him into the Kerrville Festival’s New Folk Competition. I didn’t come with him that year — 1975 it was. He didn’t win it, but came back so excited about the festival in Kerrville, and with an invitation to play later at another one that year. I didn’t get left behind for that Kerrville concert.

The next year, B.F. and I were kinda on the fritz (we were on the kinda on the fritz most of the time we were together) … and I got away from El Paso by coming to Kerrville. Ticked him off, big time. It was his festival, he said. You gals know how guys can be.

Well, at the festival, which was only 5 days long then. I noticed some inconveniences… none of the public toilets flushed (I think they called them ‘crappers’), and cold-water showers were just not my thing. But, all in all, I was having fun.

Then, I developed a scorching sunburn, that kind that makes you peel all over, and someone sent me to first aid. Those volunteer paramedics, from a Gulf Coast ambulance service, showed me the joys of the free beer that volunteers got. All right! Slammin’ ‘em down was fun! Then, one of them (it’s OK if I tell this now — the statute of limitations has expired) showed me the backstage flush toilets and hot-water showers, only available to volunteers and musicians. Well, not even being able to sing a tune, it was quickly apparent I choice was to volunteer.

I did, for the very next festival, fall of 1976.


Category: MJ's Story/ Blog

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