SKY RIVER – 40th ANNIVERSARY (plus one week)

Last weekend – Labor Day weekend – while thousands (for forty dollars a day) were reflecting on the condition of the arts in our contemporary failing democracy at the three day gated seminar named Bumbershoot, some of us may have paused to recall what happened in the mud 40 years earlier on a strawberry farm – Betty  Nelson’s Strawberry Farm – a few miles south of Sultan, Washington, off of HIghway 2, on the way to Stevens Pass.   (The Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair was the reason – it will be argued, with conditions, in the forthcoming video “Sky River Rock Fire” – Bumbershoot was founded.)  Sky River, for short, was the first three-day outdoor rock/jazz festival staged where nothing had been staged before – in this case an about 40-acre farm.

It rained most of that Labor Day weekend, although it was not a cold rain and the estimated 40 thousand who showed up made the most of it by dancing in the mud and periodically chanting for the sun in circle dances which to the Christians, who from a small plane were dropping pamphlets reading “Christ Is Coming,” must have seemed like a pagan ritual.   The music was pretty much non-stop.  The “lighter than air fair” part of it was an inflated balloon of about eight feet in diameter that could get about as far off the ground as it was wide — but with a running jump by an athletic person.  (I may be wrong in this for I did not ride the thing.)

The cost of admittance was $6 for the three  days or $4 for a single day, but a large minority paid nothing, for aside from the flimsy farm fence there was no security.  Still the bands appeared for next to nothing and the reputation of the event, even while it was underway, was sufficient to inspire the Grateful Dead, for instance, to fly up from San Francisco on their own and appear late on Monday, the last day.   I remember that County Joe and the Fish, then a very popular Berkeley band, flew in from a concert in New Orleans.  Joe was wearing a rather nifty white suit that, I believe, he purchased there.  I also remember setting the microphone for a relatively unknown comedian, Richard Pryor.  Santana was resounding across the Skykomish valley at 3 a.m., and although we must have slept, I do not remember it.

I was interviewed about SKY RIVER a few days before the 40th Anniversary by Everett Herald columnist Julie Muhlstein for their Aug. 31 offering of Heraldnet. Here is the Everett Herald link.

One of the two photos included here was also printed with the August 31, Heraldnet piece with caption included.  Fred Bauer (long since moved to the wild California coastline west of Garberville) took the camp life detail from the festival.  The other is a record of both covers from a Helix published the following spring.  It was not unusual to use the covers to promote an event, in this case a benefit concert (although that is too puny a description for those Eagles Auditorium all-day events) for Helix and KRAB radio.

The Pope in Paris

Sent today, another hot scoop and visual feast from our intrepid and inspired Parisienne:

We were waiting for the Pope for two days, no cars parked in the street, so many cops around, no shops opened around rue de Poissy …

And suddenly this morning, after canceling an appointment with a printer, and explaining to him that he could never make it to me because of traffic jams and the metro stations being closed, I decided just to live the event : “the pope’s visit”.

I paid a visit to my friends who own the hotel Familia rue des Ecoles just in front of the rue de Poissy. They feel so fine since the grand opening of the College des bernardins; the musicians playing there are staying at the hotel along with many visitors too. They invited me to come to room 53 and photograph.

(click on photos to enlarge)

In the adjoining rooms, my neighbors were also interested in the pope:

Marvelous Sylvie who, with her husband, owns the Familia and Minerva hotels:

The pope arrives but he is so far away. We feel so disappointed.

I went down to street level. If I could just find a little place along the Quai from the college des bernardins to Notre Dame, I imagined it might be my only chance to see the pope.

What a thrill!

Of course, I was new in the crowd and was surprised when everyone began screaming in rhythm “Benedetto…Benedetto!” as they call Benoit XVI. It was a very happy time anyway.

Pope to visit the Collège des Bernardins in Paris

(received yesterday from BB:)

Another great day in the 5th arrondissement. Benoit XVI is going to visit the brand new and restored Collège des Bernardins which just reopened last Thursday on the rue des Bernardins.  The Cistercian college was built in 1245, was a famous place of research, diverted during  the revolution,   became a fire station in the 19è century, and now is returned to research, lectures …

All the cars had to move off the surrounding streets and the shops will be closed. The poor Pope couldn’t bring back “little souvenirs” to his family from the dead 5th arrondissement.

Here are a few photos of the opening, many priests, sponsors and a few catholic ladies, impressive and cold.

(click to see full photos)

Cousins from Aveyron

A little hello from cousin goats from Aveyron; sweet, curious, they answer to their name and come to say hello, cut the grass, give delicious milk for cheese, and also if they are curly like the white angora one on the left, they give wool.  
Do you know the story of “La chèvre de Monsieur Seguin”? Monsieur Seguin’s goat behaves courageously and fights a wolf all night long because she wants to live free.
For this story and more, read “Les lettres de mon moulin” (“Letters from my Mill”) by Alphonse Daudet – delicious tales from Provence.


Howard Lev called me last week after having driven past a patch of downtown greenery filled with goats. I ran down and snapped a few shots of these delightful creatures. 

Chatted with Tammy of Rent-A-Ruminant, who asserted this was a cutting edge example of green business sense. The goats gently munch away brush, then poop, and leave.

Mostly, they’re just sweet and pettable and the opposite of camera-shy.

These bright curious animals approached me eagerly, virtually nuzzling my lens. More ham than goat, it seemed to me.


From left to right: Bob Connell, B. Bhartik and partner, Jun Akutsu, Cathy Tuttle, Kathleenn Cromp, Michael Kucher, Treb Connell, Christina O’Leary, Michael Courtney

This coming Saturday, Sept 13, from 10 to noon the “ring of illuminated concern” called Sustainable Wallingford – and I’m a member – will meet almost at the Mosaic Community Coffeehouse at 4401 2nd Ave. NE.  That is the landmark.  The meeting itself will be just around the corner in the First Church of the Nazarene fellowship hall.  You enter on 2nd.

Early last month, August 9th, an afternoon squall ran through Seattle scattering picnics to the nearest shelters.  The picnics that Saturday included one for Sustainable Wallingford at the Good Shepherd campus.  The attached group portrait shows a few members illuminated in the reflected glow of an afternoon sun that followed the storm.  They are perched, of course, in the park’s pergola.

Why investigate this circle of concerned Wallingford citizens?  One reason is that they are also meeting in Wallingford United Kingdom.   Here follows parts of Sustainable Wallingford leader Cathy Tuttle’s latest correspondence to members.  It begins with a request you may wish to take time to examine and respond to.

Please take a survey, What Do You Really Think About Climate Change? We will only be collecting survey data until October 25th, so please try to answer soon! Our friends in Sustainable Wallingford UK contacted us last month at Sustainable Wallingford US, to see if we could ask our townspeople the same questions at the same time. We want to see if we have similar interests, knowledge, and concerns in both countries. Wallingford, UK is a small town of about 10,000 people, located 47 miles (75 km) west of London. Wallingford, USA is a neighborhood of around 20,000 people, located 4 miles (6 km) north of Seattle. Please pass along this survey to your friends! We will publish survey results on our website, and in local newspapers. Thank you!

The remainder of Cathy’s bulleted correspondence includes other clues on why one might want to show up this coming weekend or visit the group’s site.

*   CoolMom Wallingford meets at Mosaic 4401 2nd Ave NE this Tuesday, Sept 9 at 7 pm with Kerri Cechovic from Washington Environmental Council. More info about CoolMom Wallingford from Anne Marie 206-522-5034

*   Active Sustainable Wallingford member Mike Ruby received $15,000 from the Dept of Neighborhoods Matching Fund to help plan a Wallingford Community Center He invites folks interested in the project to the Good Shepherd Center room 122 this Wednesday, Sept 10 at 7 pm.

*   If you haven’t seen the Sustainable Wallingford wheelbarrow drill team, click.

*   The great Sustainable Ballard Festival on Sept 27-28 has a variety of must-see events including two Wallingford-based Spokespeople rides at noon to sustainable sites — so ride your bikes to the festival!

*   Spokespeople will also link houses on the Wallingford home tour on Oct 5.

*   Click for more info about Sustainable Wallingford or call Cathy at 206-547-9569

My one-of-a-kind Sustainable Wallingford button

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