Well it’s been a week since Pickathon ended and I’m just starting to come to the surface. I photographed a wedding on Friday so I missed the highlight of the festival for a lot of folks…Thao with The Get Down Stay Down. But that’s okay. I caught the Dr. Dog set in the Galaxy Barn late that night and then spent the next two days absorbing so much crazy music that I think if I had been able to take in all of Friday, I might have exploded by Sunday night.
I struggle, sometimes, to remember just what set it was that blew me away. I move a lot. I make thousands of pictures throughout the weekend. Great pictures and great music don’t always go hand in hand. As hard as the musicians try to look good on stage, it’s usually the moments in between that make interesting pictures. Warming up an hour before a performance or simply the moment before they go on stage might be more revealing than a forty-five minute set of music.
When thinking of what knocked me out over the weekend, I keep going back to the Workshop Barn. I was sucked in by the stories of Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers. Tales and familial accounts about the history of Cajun music, his brother Andre’s accordion building skills and the beauty and authenticity of their music. And then later that night someone flipped a switch and they rocked the Galaxy Barn like only crazy Cajuns can.
Lost Bayou Ramblers
But that confounding ‘best set’ idea…I don’t know the answer. Deep Dark Woods in the Galaxy Barn? Breathe Owl Breathe on the Starlight Stage? John Doe and the Sadies in the Barn? Hackensaw Boys on the Fir Meadows stage? Or was it Thao and I missed it? For Leo, age four, it was the pirate band Captain Bogg and Salty. For Sara, it might have been C.W. Stoneking on the Woods Stage, she’s not sure. For my neighbor it was Pancake Breakfast. For a fellow photographer it was Alvin Youngblood Hart. There’s no right answer.
So now we start thinking about next year. Sifting through pictures from this year while listening to bands I hope might come to the festival next year. It’s a dance that I hope never gets old.
all images © Tim LaBarge 2009