Statesville’s not dead, they just need somewhere to play.
Submitted by Mick
I had planned to cover another festival, but was told about a week before the big day, that I wasn’t needed….or too late….depends on which one of the disjointed emails you go off of. Either way, I move on. Groovin The Madness only blipped on my radar because the Good Night Brother’s band were going. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to have found it. I have a love hate thing going on with doing festivals. On one hand, they provide numerous opportunities to interact with bands and fans, and really do a good job for exposing the show to people. On the other hand, it’s quite a bit of work mainly in the post weekend editing.
But at the end of the day, I really liked how the Shakedown Fest episode came out, and I’ve been wanting to attempt another, and sort of verify some of my solutions to problems I faced in my first going. I’ll probably write a blog about music festivals and lament a little about this later on. But for now, the madness must ensue.
The Groovin the Madness festival was put together by the dudes in Midnight Airwaves, a Statesville based rock band and power trio. They started the festival to provide a place for some of these very young bands in the Hickory-Statesville scene to play. It seems as though the venue deficit has stretched all the way up there, so there are some really talented bands that have nowhere to play. You mix that with an epidemic of opioid and amphetamine addiction, and you’ve got a recipe for lost talent….and that’s what these dudes aim to stop.
I traveled up to Statesville the week before the festival to talk to the guys about what their plans were, and get a feel for what I was in for. I caught up with them at their practice space to sit down for a conversation.
I arrived at the split level home in the evening, and the sounds of the band practicing was flowing in the air. I walked around back and was escorted into the lair by the drummer’s fiance…more on that later…and walked in as they fine tuned one of their original songs. When the song wrapped up we went outside for a smoke, and to sort of feel each other out.
They told me about a friend’s son who had died recently from an overdose and we talked about the drug problem
in the area. Pressed pills of mainly fentanyl that were labeled as Percocet, coke cut with meth, and dirty heroin….all of which were causing visible and fatal damage to their community. I’m only going to take a second here, but the epidemic that we have now, is spawned 100% by the War on Drugs. If you legalize everything…and I mean everything…or at the very least decriminalize it, these bullshit stepped on drugs would be out of here. You want to talk about fiscal conservatism? Let market forces take care of it. People selling bullshit drugs, don’t last. Everything becomes more clean and predictable. I am in no way condoning the use of hard narcotics, but people gonna do what they do. The data is out there, legalizing leads to a remarkable decline in overdose deaths and addiction. And that’s real.
Seemingly hand in hand with the drug problem is the problem of no venues. I shouldn’t say no venues. Very limited venues, and none that are really doing anything outside of the box. The all too familiar theme of bookers wanting cover bands was also predominating. We talked about their musical tastes, and how they got started. I had the recorder going, so you can hear all of that in the episode to follow this article.
On the drive home I really digested this all. This is a group, much like mine growing up, in an area seemingly stuck in a cycle of unemployment and addiction. This is a familiar theme in any small town. But these guys, who aren’t pious or on a lectern, who don’t have any political aspirations, and I’m sure they could give zero fucks what anyone thought about them….they were the ones who were going to step up and help enforce change through music, love and acceptance, rather than a bully pulpit. And for me, personally, that’s what’s up.
The forecast for the weekend slowly crept up in temp and humidity over the next week, until it reached the absolute highest temperature and humidity you can possibly reach. There should be a name for it, like absolute zero…..this was absolute hot AF. At least that’s what it was in the city. Up north of I40 on Lookout Shoals, the general consensus was that it weren’t to bad. A nice breeze, and if you were out of the sun, well…..who am I kidding. I am a special breed of human that will wear shorts and a hoody on a 40 degree day. If I keep the wind off me in the snow, that’s about all I need. But man, you put me in anything over 75, and I’m sweating. But for the natives, this sort of weather seemed to impede them no more than a simple penny on the tracks would a locomotive. There was no stopping these folks’ will to have a blast.
I setup my pop up tent just to the side of stage left, fired up the generator, and made sure all was good, and set off to look around. The RNTP as I think it is quasi-officially called is a corporately owned campground that is about 30 acres of meadow on the banks of the lake. You drive down about a mile of dirt road, through towering rows of corn, to get to the paved driveway that leads down to the boat ramp and picnic shelter.
That shelter had been converted into a stage on one side, and a greenroom on the other. Front and center of the stage was a merry-go-round. Like a legit one. Like the one we all played on before they child proofed the playgrounds of this nation.
Think about that…they child proofed the playgrounds. There was a guy there with a parrot, and several artists had their tents set up selling tie-dye shirts and blown glass.
I walked back to the tent. Oh my god it was hot. I put up the sides to the tent and set up a fan. I figured I might as well smoke a bowl. Didn’t seem like anyone was going to be bothered by that. In fact, I don’t think anyone there was even botherable. One of my favorite things about festivals, even when I was a kid, it’s always so laid back. Nobody is there to fuck you over, you don’t really need to lock your shit….just always so warm. People from all walks, just in one place to have fun, and that’s it. Maybe that’s what would cure what ails us. As I’m writing this there are some Nazi terrorists in Charlottesville, and among the disgusting imagery and vulgarness of it all, I am overwhelmingly struck by one thing the most. What in the living fuck has their panties in a knot like this? How does any person dwell so much on another’s differences that they actually get mad? Like mad at a person’s existence and demand for equal rights. Someone needs to get them a fuckin lollipop or something.
I got off the leather seat I had brought with me, and walked down to the water. There was this great elevated pier to the side of the boat ramp. There were kids doing back flips off of it. Attempting really, few ever actually completed a flip. A 270 degree vertical rotation is not a flip, it is a belly flop. My buddy John showed up with the Kayaks, but you didn’t come here to hear about my weekend camping.
To hear the rest of this story, download the upcoming episode of Piedmont Artist Profiles, which will be up
Thursday….8/17/17. And stay tuned as we’ll bring you interviews and music from the bands over the next week.
Oh….and the drummer from Midnight Airwaves actually proposed to his girlfriend during their set, she said yes, and then I’m pretty sure she gave a Hell Yeah!
Opus (or whatever the end up being called)
And of course Midnight Airwaves, the hosts and great dudes who made this all possible.