The Folk Music Center celebrated its 50th anniversary last night. I didn't get an invite, but all of the other Canaries did.
Billy C either found or got his invite yesterday, so he e-mailed me and we decided to go.
I at first thought that it would be like a tiny reception with maybe some snacks and stuff. So I left the house without my ax. Billy C brought his, which is when the light pinged in my head: this is a FOLK MUSIC center, people will probably play music, people will probably be INVITED to play music. So, I went in unarmed, but I figured that I could borrow Billy C's if there was an invitation to play.
Then I realized, hey Ben Harper owns this place. This may actually be quite the shindig!
Harper's grandparents, Charles and Dorothy Chase, first opened the Folk Music Center and Ben, when he became successful, bought it.
So, now I realized this shindig might actually be a hullabaloo!
We got there and a line had already formed, just like open mike night. Ellen, Harper's mother and the store's manager, opened the doors, and, sure enough, this was set up to be a real party. As guests walked in, they received commemorative t-shirts--they even had one in my size. And a gourmet buffet had been spread in front of the guitar wall. Harper himself had just snagged a gourmet cupcake as he greeted old friends from town.
As I shuffled through from the door to where the eats were, I looked behind me and there was Jackson Browne. Other players were there, band members and such. The stage had been set up, so clearly there would be music.
Ellen announced that anyone who wanted to play could get up and play one song. A guy with a kazoo got up and played "Happy Birthday." As the first few players performed, I thought about going up myself, but the acts got better and better. I thought about doing "The Green-Eyed Dragon" a capella, but the acts just kept getting better. Then Ben Harper and Jackson Browne performed.
I should mention here that the Folk Center is not all that big and could hold, at best, maybe a hundred people for concert purposes. So, I'm standing maybe 15 feet from the stage.
So they were good and they stuck, technically, to the one song per person rule. At the end of his song, Harper thanked everyone for coming and I thought that was the end. And I decided that I was not going to follow them if it wasn't.
People kept going up. Ben returned to the stage often, sometimes with his mother, sometimes with other musicians. The evening ended with "Goodnight Irene."
A good time.