Author: Cornish, Phil

Parkfield through the eye of an I-Phone
My dad used to have a saying. Ricky, he would say, when a fella’s got a new hammer, everything looks like a nail. At Parkfield I was the fella and my new I=Phone, with built in camera, was the hammer. Here are my Parkfield photos, with a little stream of consciousness narrative to go with them.

My friend Bill Miener, the long-legged San Martin picker with whom I did extensive hanging out at the festival, along with his golfer wife Alicia who is the reigning Western Regional Amateur Champion and who knows her way around the golf course of marriage if her interaction with Bill last weekend was any indication, took a photo of the road leading up to Parkfield which, for me, captures the geographical quirkiness of the town, which is arguably quirky in an endless number of ways, having a multi-storied wooden tower on the north side of town as it’s architectural signature, (no, this wasn’t intended to be a psychedelic art shot, something just went crazy with my I-Phone camera), a quite large Labrador retriever unofficial mayor, called Bud, who every hour or so jumps in the fountain smack in the middle of the audience area and then, jumping out into the crowd shakes off on whichever crowd members he deems hot enough to truly deserve a cold shower, and just across the street from the tower, the stone and timber Parkfield Café, where time stands still but, no, the customers don’t mind the long wait because ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING on the menu is superb, not the least of which were the steaks that Carl P. and I had Friday night, which are acquired from the cattle rancher just south of town and about which James King, shown here with Carl, actually alerted us to their superior quality when, from stage, he told the story of meeting said cattle rancher (the guy with the big spread south of town) at three in the morning at a blackjack table at the Nugget in Sparks, which is not to say, of course, that the Café was the only source of world class eats at the festival, what with some of the best southern cooking cooked up by the husband-and-wife proprietors of the Southern Delight Cajun and Creole Catering Company from Santa Maria (boy oh boy oh boy do these two know how to make a mean gumbo) who, by the way, make and bottle their own brand of hot sauce, made of Scotch Bonnet (habanera) peppers, two bottles of which I bought and brought home with me and who, according to Ed Alston, usually staid but pictured here in an uncharacteristically screechingly yellow festival t-shirt, were coaxed into bringing their kitchen to Parkfield by he himself, a man usually known for his humility who, in truth, can certainly take credit for the lion’s share of the Parkfield Festival success story in 2008, along with some herculean help from the likes of Linda Morton, whose job it was to make sure that Ed’s cerebral breaker switch was re-set when necessary and Mike McGar who managed attendee in-take the way he does year in and year out at the Fathers Day Festival, and the central-cal quartet of Glen Horn (raffle coordinator), Craig Kincaid (stage manager), Sally Vedder (assistant raffle coordinator and designer of the festival’s multi-page, quite handsome program), Wendy Stockton (assistant to the stage manager, banjoist and two-time winner of the festival's ugliest head-covering contest) and Roger Siminoff, shown here doing a banjo set-up workshop, which was preceded by his performance on mandolin with the Santa Maria group Wild River Ramblers , just one of several wonderfully talented local and regional acts, including Baloney Creek, the Southside Band, Better Late than Never, the Salt Martians, Virtual Strangers, Bean Creek and Smiley Mountain, which is not by any means to say that there weren’t some mighty fine touring bands that lit up the stage last weekend, not the least of which were the James King Band , which, some would say, has the finest male bluegrass singer alive today, Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice, a brand new act that I wouldn’t be surprised we see at Fathers Day sooner than later, Eric Uglum and Sons, who provided goose bumps a plenty both instrumentally and vocally, Leroy Mack and the Bluegrass Gospel Band, delivering both a musical and spiritual repast Sunday morning, the Brombies, comprised of Jo Ellen, George, Bill and Pat and the only band in the weekend’s line-up named after Australia's wild horse, descended from domestic horses imported into Australia to be used in the settlement, exploration and development of that continent to the south and, my absolute favorite, the Del Williams Band, which, when coming off the stage after their second set I referred to as the Vern Williams Band because I was just too damned excited and was ever so quickly corrected by a torrent of calls and threats from the audience, an audience I might add that was well over fifty percent larger than 2008 and which included a fair number of northern CA’ers, including but by no means limited to banjo-dobroist Rich Ferguson, snapped here with me, Angelo Chiurato, Sydney Evans and Kim Elking, friends and camp mates and frequent visitors to Sam’s BB in Campbell, Ralph Nelson, shown with one of his two omnipresent boy cats, Ralph’s charming wife Kay who, some would say, has the patience of a saint,
Posted:  5/16/2008

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