2005 Talent Winner - Megan LeeAnn Benninson

2005 Old Settler's Music Festival

Review

by

Paul Johnston

[News Story]

2005 Talent Winner - Megan LeeAnn Benninson

"Left Over Biscuits"
Well I asked my wife if I could go out with the boys
Just a little party over at Jimmy Roy's
She said "yes honey, you know that I don't care"
But what I didn't tell her it was a three day affair.


Yes, folks, you don't have to go over to Jimmy Roy's to spend three days in musical bliss. However, to insure you're not eat'n left over biscuits, more on this later, bring the whole family along to the Old Settler's Music Festival to maintain harmonious spirits. As sure as Spring comes around and does its magic on the Texas plants and beautiful wildflowers, the 2005 Old Settler's Music Festival came along and performed its musical magic on festival attendees. Between April 21-24, 2005 in Driftwood, Texas at the Salt Lick Pavilion near the Salt Lick Restaurant, four days of musical bliss was achieved in this beautiful pastoral setting down on the banks of Onion Creek. Old Settler's is nationally known for a wide range of musical depth ranging from the best in traditional bluegrass, roots and Americana music, boundary expanding blue grass to swing and jazz. From big name national talent to top local area music groups to the yearly Old Settler's Music Talent young contest, a wide variety of music is available to the festivians.


The 2005 Old Settlers Music Festival deserves superior marks for achieving a high quality presentation for its unique, excellent central Texas music festival!

Sponsors, vendors, staff and 300 plus volunteers earn a grade of A+ for overall execution of the 2005 Old Settler's Music Festival.


Attendees of the festival have come to expect a very high caliber of music festival over the years. As usual, the festivians were not disappointed at the high quality presentation for the 18th year of this event.

Jimmy LaFave


Francie White of the Back Porch Vipers

For the festival attendee that wanted to experience the whole musical enchilada, camping was opened on Thursday at Camp Ben McColluch. Early Thursday evening, the Old Settler's Music Festival officially began at 5 PM with Slim Richey's Dream Band with Leeann Atherton playing at the campground stage. If you like some classic jazz songs, then this band will satisfy that hunger quite well. Last on the campground stage for Thursday evening was the Red Stick Ramblers.


All talent appearing at the Old Settler's was very, very good. Below is a listing of the various talent and activities going on between Thursday evening to Sunday noon:


OLD SETTLER'S 2005 PRESENTS
Rodney Crowell * Kasey Chambers * Bela Fleck Acoustic Trio featuring Bela Fleck, Casey Driessen and Bryan Sutton * Reckless Kelly * Railroad Earth * New Monsoon * The Bills * The Red Stick Ramblers * Austin Lounge Lizards * Eddie From Ohio * Flounders Without Eyes * Lonestar Bluegrass Band * Jimmy LaFave * Special Consensus * Steep Canyon Rangers * Steppin in it * Daybreak * Cooper's Uncle * Karen Abrahams * Leeann Atherton * Sarah Jarosz * Back Porch Vipers * Texas Swing Kings * CPR * Kids Talent Contest * Poster Contest * Two String High Band* Ashlee Rose (2004 OSMF Talent Contest Winner)*Additional children's activities included, a youth talent competition, armadillo races, petting zoo, monster-slide, moonwalk, stilt-walking, doll making, face painting


Saturday is the day I went to photograph the festival activities. As usual, the festival was very well organized with plenty of variety in musical talent, vendors and food to please anyone. The number of stages were scaled back slightly from previous years. Not counting, the Campground Stage, there was the main Hill Country Stage, the indoor Discovery Stage where all the music workshops were held, and the Bluebonnet Stage down on the banks of Onion Creek near the waterfall. What was missing this year was the Armadillo Stage which in the past was located on one end of the building housing the Discovery Stage. The participation at the Armadillo Stage has always been limited but well appreciated. Howard Kalish of the Texas Swing Kings

Though not as hot this year as in some years past, shade is always appreciated and available in certain areas of the festival. To the left of the main stage one will find a large number of people sitting under The Green Monster, very large oak tree. Because the Discovery stage is located inside of a building, shade is available there. The Bluebonnet Stage is located on the flood plain of Onion Creek among tall large trees on a grassy area with a small hillside. This is the most scenic and pleasant area of the festival grounds.


As mentioned before, all talent was very good. Talent that I particularly enjoyed were Jimmy LaFave with his unique voice and the Back Porch Vipers (Slim Richey, Karen Abrahams & Francie White) with their jazz songs of the 1930's and 1940's era. On Saturday afternoon, there was a special performance by 14 year old Megan LeeAnn Benninson who was the youth talent competition winner. What a talent! Her mandolin playing and singing were excellent! Given her musical abilities, the future of talent available for the Old Settler's is in good hands with all the young folks that competed this year! A job well done by Megan!

The Lone Star Bluegrass Band

Later on Saturday evening, I was at the Bluebonnet Stage. Having had a full day of fun, I decided to start heading back to the parking lot and drive back to Austin. The Lonestar Bluegrass Band had started to play as I was walking up the grassy slopes heading towards the parking area. As I was walking up the hill, I started listening to the catchy bluegrass tune, Left Over Biscuits. Paying close attention to the lyrics and the great playing by the Lonestar Bluegrass Band, I started laughing at the lyrics and turned around and headed back down hill to finish out the set with this mighty talented band before going home. I guess if Jimmy Roy can throw a three day party,well, then The Old Settler's Music Festival will at least match his and then some!

Lonestar Bluegrass Band


"LEFT OVER BISCUITS"

by Harold Handy of The Lost & Found

Chorus:
Left over biscuits, left over ham
Left over gravy in an old fryin' pan
Left over coffee, left over tea
Now I'm all alone 'cause she done left over me.

Well I asked my wife if I could go out with the boys
Just a little party over at Jimmy Roy's
She said "yes honey, you know that I don't care"
But what I didn't tell her it was a three day affair.

Chorus:

Then we went to a party over at my neighbor's home
Me and my neighbor's wife in the kitchen all alone
She was makin' biscuits while I was makin' time
Caught in the act by that little old wife of mine.

Chorus:

Now I'm all alone, 'cause she done left over me.


Things done very well:

1. Traffic directed by volunteers day and night into and out of of parking areas.

2. Helpful staff at ticket windows.

3. Well organized festival grounds.

4. Large variety of food and merchandise vendors.

5. Large variety of children activities with the new addition of Monster Slide and Moonwalk plus miniature merry-go-round type ride.

6. Excellent talent line-up.

7. Lots of musical workshops inside covered building.

8. Well lit parking and areas at night.

9. Hand washing sink in area with soap and paper towels.

10. Well maintained area.

Things needing improvement, few:

No more pony rides!

The little ponies for the kiddies looked well taken care of and even the ride supervisor walked around the circle with the ponies. The two tiny corrals containing the four backup ponies was just too small to be humane. Basically, there were two corrals that were side by side. The corrals each contained two ponies that were side by side, head to tail in orientation. Because of the closeness of the ponies to each other and the stress induced in this situation, the ponies were nipping at each other causing them to try to twirl in a circular motion to relieve the situation and then repeat this action over and over.

I noticed a purple medication that had been applied to the wounds on the backs of the ponies. Whether these wounds were caused by the saddles or from their nipping at each other, I cannot say. If the backup ponies had been corrals about three times larger or just tied, spaced out, to the nearby wooden railing, then it would have been much more humane for them. My vote, no more pony rides!


More Soap and Wash Basins

The only wash basin this year was more strategically placed than the previous year and had liquid soap available in the early afternoon. The soap ran out later in the afternoon. In the early evening, more liquid soap was available. Having soap available on a continuous basis through all hours would be appreciated.

If only one wash basin is to be available, then where it was located was the spot it needed to be. However, it would be nice to see other wash basins in other part of the grounds, especially food service areas with soap, would be a real nice touch and a worthy festival goal to aim for.


Dancing in front of the Bluebonnet Stage

Let There Be Dance!

Over the years, festival officials have gingerly handled the standing crowds that tend to dance and revel in musical bliss during the evening hours. As with most festivals, the high powered headliners are saved for the last acts of each night. The tendency is for officials to respectfully remind the crowds early on in the evening to please remain seated so that those sitting further back may see. To try to accommodate everyone, dance zones to the sides of the stage have been set up. This past year during Bela Fleck's performance, festival officials requested that those standing in front of the stage disperse so all could see and enjoy. The standing crowds were very cooperative and disbursed.

Normally, as the evening wears on, the front row crowd get reved up and there is no hope of getting them to sit down. Festival officials have a delicate balancing act of trying to allow everyone to have a good time and for those sitting near stage front to be able to be able to see the stage and not have their view blocked by standing/dancing audience that gather stage front

As an experiment for the 2006 festival, I would suggest that the festival try allowing the crowd to stand/dance/celebrate during the first two numbers of an each performance if so desired, then sit down during the remainder of the performance. This policy should be stated on the festival's web site, its lineup brochure and frequent announcements to the audience.

Also suggested, for the last act of the evening, the audience to be allowed to stand/dance/celebrate if so desired during the whole performance. I believe if this policy is made public before the festival, it would be a worthy experiment to try. The feedback survey the festival conducts every year will indicate if this experiment should be tried in following years.

To the volunteers and officials of the 2005 Old Settler's Music Festival, a job well done!


NEWS STORY



Copyright - 2005 - Paul Johnston