This past weekend was the Berkeley old time music festival. It was a superb time, there are so very many great musicians around these parts and many more that came from out of town. People are extremely friendly too, the whole thing had a good vibe as they say out here in California. The square dance was great too.

I've never been to a festival in a city, it worked fairly well since after the official events people had house parties that lasted all night and there were many opportunities to play. Maybe the best sign that it was a real festival is that I stayed up all night playing. The BART stops running at 12 so the only real choice was to keep playing and not sleep. A friend of mine had a 6 am flight so we played until it was time for him to go to the airport (and, incredibly, a ride materialized from a talented guitar player as well).

I went to most of the events, but since all good things happen at the same time I was forced to choose between seeing Benton Flippen play on Friday night or seeing Los Cojolites, a son jarocho band. Los Cojolites played in an old theatre about four blocks from where I am living, so it was no contest really.

I have to say, it ain't bad having these kind of choices. In a perfect world you either don't have to choose, or you have these choices, hard to say which.

That band was incredible, extremely tight and just dead on. They had a dancer who added a lot to the songs as well, dancing on a hollow box that kicked out the sound, really a phenomenal show. They have a lot of video up on youtube, none of which capture the intensity of them playing live, but this gives you a reasonable sample:

I got to see Benton play anyway, since he was aroudna ll day saturday. I guess he played until about 2 am on Friday, and then was back on it the next day. At one point he was looking pretty wiped out and freaked everybody out, they called for a doctor and everybody gathered around. But he was fine, and sounded more than great when he played the dance that night. 89 years young and still sounding every bit the great fiddler, incredible.

My friend Fiddling Chuck, who longtime Nunal readers might remember as the guy who played the Korea shows with me in the gone but not forgotten past, came out here for the Berkeley festival. He is playing now with a band called the Magnolia Serenaders and they won first place in the band contest. Not too bad. Here they are:


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