Wanderlust Festival Diary: Part One

by Gordon Elgart on July 25, 2009

Sharon Jones belts out another one.

Sharon Jones belts out another one.

When I heard about the Wanderlust Festival, its amazing location, and its perfect lineup, I booked a hotel room the same day.  Because of this, I’m writing this diary post from an amazing hotel room with three queen size beds, a full kitchen with utensils, and killer balcony, and right inside the village where the festival is located.  The fridge is stocked (salmon for dinner tomorrow), the beds are made, and everyone’s getting ready for sleep.

But how was tonight’s music?We left from Walnut Creek at about 3:30, and because of a stop at a delicious pizza restaurant in Colfax, and another quick jaunt to Safeway to stock up the kitchen, we didn’t get checked in and to our room until about 9:30.  Who doesn’t love bumper-to-bumper traffic?

Meanwhile, during the traffic, we found out that Michael Franti had been rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy, so the festival was left without a Saturday headliner.  It only took an hour or so before the Twitterverse was buzzing with the news that Common would be taking over as headliner.  Not bad.  That’s pretty decent for a last-minute replacement.  According to the front desk person, who had seen the contract, they are paying him a lot of money.  Without context (more or less than usual, more or less than Franti), that information is near meaningless.  I provide it here as a service.  I report; you decide.

Because of the traffic and the needed stops, we arrived at the village’s Globetrotter Stage as Mutaytor were doing their last song.  Although this is a disappointment, I can look forward to tomorrow night’s set, as they’re playing twice!

This night belonged, then, to Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.  They are always a treat to see, and tonight was no different.  Ms. Jones had trouble with her microphone, her monitors, her reverb, and who knows what else.  This didn’t stop her, and neither did the high elevation.  She explained that she thought this would be a bad show because she wouldn’t be able to breathe, and she made many jokes about making sure the oxygen is ready.  Her fevered dancing was unchecked, so it made for quite an entertaining show.

The crowd at this festival was really pumped and into it.  Everyone around me was dancing and having a great time.  There was no pushing and shoving; everyone just celebrated the music.

I’ve been here at Squaw Valley for about 5 hours, and within 20 minutes of arriving, we were already discussing our plans for coming back next year if they do it again next year.  I can already tell that this is going to be a well run festival with a great group of attendees.  So far, so good, Wanderlust.

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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