Camping & Music Weekend, August 9-11, 2019

Wayne and I had the great pleasure of attending “Cowfest 7”–an annual invitation-only music event at beautiful Alder Creek Farm. We’ve been invited to camp there a few times, and while we’ve attended other Cowfests, this was the first year we were able take our trailer. With all sincerity, I can say that this weekend ranks up there in the top 10 best experiences I’ve had–EVER!

Our little Clipper was decked out with a new tire cover I’d made for the weekend, and we arrived at the farm on late Friday afternoon. Our host had a spot for us near the house that offered a 30-amp electrical connection (perfect!), and as other trailers, coaches, vans, and tents got set up, a community of campers and music lovers was formed.

That evening we turned on our lights, and put out our welcome mat. It was so much fun to meet new people, and to reconnect with old friends!

FOOD is certainly one of the highlights of the weekend! Campers brought items to cook and items to share, and the grills were loaded with mega-burgers, brats, and even filet mignon!

Music, of course, is central to this event, and the pickin’ that night was superb!

When we finally went back to our trailer–a little after 2 AM!–I sat outside for a while, simply marveling at how NICE it was to be around such fun, loving, and like-minded souls.

Saturday morning promised to be another picture-perfect August day, and by early afternoon our little camping community had grown even more.

The outdoor brick oven was cranked up, and “Team Dannette” got to work, ultimately making about a bazillion pizzas during this event! Kudos and blessings to them, as well as to Mark and the others who kept us all so well fed.

Picture by Jo, a fellow camper, used with permission 🙂

Other visitors–just there for the main event, Cowfest 7–started arriving when the gates opened at 4:00 pm.

It should be noted that Alder Creek Farm is a private performance and event venue east of Charlottesville, VA. It’s not a campground and it’s not a business: our hosts simply enjoy offering family-friendly events on their beautiful land where their friends and guests can enjoy music, food, and fellowship. So thankful that we’re counted among their friends! 🙂

The first two groups at Cowfest 7 played music for children, and then The BLNDERS took the stage a little after 6 PM.

A Charlottesville-based group, The BLNDRS had just finished a tour that included coastal North Carolina.

“Coincidentally,” two members of The BLNDRS (Nate and Ben) went to the school where I teach. More coincidentally, when they were performing on Ocracoke Island in NC a few days before Cowfest, my vacationing co-worker (their music teacher and mentor!) came to their show! And even more coincidentally, the band members know Wayne’s sons, one of whom had seen them the previous night when they played at Pro Re Nata. “Coincidences,” maybe, but small world-isms, for sure. 🙂 If you get a chance to see this group, do! Seriously!

As the 3/4 moon climbed higher in the sky, The Cows started rocking Alder Creek Farm. (I’m not sure if they were the inspiration for the name Cowfest or not, but maybe!)

In previous years we’ve had to leave about halfway during their 2nd set to start the drive home, but this time (since we were camping) we were able to stay until the end! T’was amazing. MOOOOOOO! 🙂

After Cowfest 7 finally wound down (despite calls to “PLAY ALL NIGHT! PLAY ALL NIGHT!”), the stalwart camping crew reconvened in the Sugar Shack for another jam session–that started around 2 AM!

At one point, Wayne and Nick (from the local Stones tribute band, Cherry Red) did a number together:

One of the highlights for me during these ever-changing jam sessions was when Wayne was singing with local singer/songwriter, Susan Munson, while Nick (on Wayne’s guitar) and Ben played. So many musical styles, backgrounds, and generations, all coming together to make some sweet music. Beautiful.

I REALLY, REALLY wish I’d gotten video clips of ALL of the groups and ALL of the jams, but here’s just a little bit of the magic from Saturday night:

It was late when we made our way back to the Clipper from the Sugar Shack, but the music was still happening! How late was it? Check my Fitbit’s sleep stats. 😉

The next morning as we were sitting out on our “porch” drinking coffee, I could see that one musician (who later said he was playing until the sun rose!) was still asleep. 😉

At one point I quipped that I wondered if our hosts would notice if we just never left; I wanted to bottle the whole experience to save and to savor; it was truly that special….

But soon everyone was packing up and heading home, with new friends made and good memories lovingly tucked into their hearts. I would catch myself smiling at random times, thinking of one thing or another from our visit to Alder Creek Farm. (And I’m STILL smiling! 🙂 )

Once we had the Clipper safely back in our driveway and (most) everything put away and cleaned up, we relaxed for a while and then started wondering what to do about dinner. Decision made, we headed to one of our favorite local restaurants, Fardowners.

As we pulled into the parking lot, who should we see but “Team Dannette”–the fabulous, all day/all night pizza makers extraordinaire from Cowfest! There had actually been many legitimate coincidences and synchronicities over the past couple of days, but this one made my jaw drop! They’d rolled on up to a campground in this neck of the woods when they left Alder Creek Farm and they’d also decided that Fardowners would be a good choice for dinner. Loved seeing them again! 🙂

I’m not sure how many more weekend camping trips we’ll be able to do before winter (especially since it’s back to school time for us!), but this one was absolutely magical. Our sincere thanks, again, to Constance and Jay, and to everyone who helped to make this such a wonderful, memorable weekend!

Until next time,

Sharon & Wayne

P.S. – Special thanks, too, to my friend and co-worker for feeding the ferals, and to our friend and pet sitter who kept this old guy fed and medicated so we could get out again for a couple of days!

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