INSIDE THE BUMMER TENT

 

Discovering interesting, unique music and artwork has always been a proactive process. You must search off the beaten path to find the radio stations, galleries, musicians, outlets and other sources for the less commercially viable arts.

Accessing information in general can become a similar challenge. As recent news coverage has demonstrated, all information must now fit a specific media game plan. (The recent coverage of the war as something akin to sports commentary is one example.)

We have to join with those who are saddened by the decision of our local PBS TV station to drop the traditional airing of the local political debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters. We agree with columnist Bill White that even if the numbers and the bottom line don't qualify this type of programming for modern viewing tastes, it is a shame that PBS will no longer be the "keeper of the flame" for this important and unglamorous piece of democracy in action.

Maybe restructuring the debates as a reality show with all the candidates in sexy beachwear at some hidden location at Cedar Beach would work....? They could vote on bumping each other from the debates after each show and then we could forego the time-consuming election process altogether.

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Futures

With the weather getting warmer, stay tuned for the local music scene extending to the great outdoors. The Illick's Mill Partnership for Environmental Education, (www.illicksmill.org) spearheaded by Liberty High School teacher and environmentalist, Karen Dolan will be among the first to host such outdoor music festivals. The 2nd annual, RiverFusion 2003 concert will take place on Sunday, May 4 at the Illick's Mill Recreation Complex in Bethlehem. RiverFusion 2003 will feature a variety of musical acts on three stages. The goal is to provide a venue for multiple music genres, appealing to everyone's musical palate, including Folk/Acoustic, Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop, Jam, Alternative, and World music. Scheduled to perform (in alpha order) is: Art Tek, Blue-Eyed Sun, Collection of 3, Franklin, G. Love & Special Sauce, Gertie Fox, Grupo Eco, Insidious Rays, Jake Kaligis Band, Lake Trout, Mama Jama, Pearls & Brass, Rhino Campground, Royal Noise Brigade, Spirit Island, Spitshine, The Electric Farm, The Holmes Famly (OnTime), The Starting Line, The Teeth, Thunderchief and Zen For Primates. And, all this for a $20 admission fee. Tickets can be purchased locally at the Compact Disc Center, Play It Again Records, The Green Café, Speedy's Records and Primal Expressions and on-line at Ticketmaster.com and JamBase.com. Be sure to stop by and visit us at the WDIY/Bummer Tent Stage.

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Hanging Out and About

A great example of the incredible community in the Lehigh Valley Blues scene was in evidence at the April 6th benefit concert for Bev Conklin. The hall at the Ramada Inn was filled with all the best Blues musicians in the area. When we arrived (late!) the place was rocking to Bobby Soul with the Thom Palmer Band singing and cavorting with the audience. The dance floor was packed and it stayed that way until we left 2 hours later. Craig Coyle and Wayne Smith each fronted a tune as the Blues Crew started the last set. BC did the next song with her band and then turned the stage over to Sara Ayers. Thanks to Stevie Ray Ward for putting it all together.

If you haven't been to the Main Street Street in Quakertown, check it out. In addition to their regular summer stock theater schedule, their concert series has supported Lehigh Valley musicians in a major way. This beautiful 200-seat theater, has hosted such acts as Craig Thatcher, Mike Dugan, Illinois Slim, Chicago Carl Snyder and Mary Hawkins.

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Trackings

Nora Suggs & John Arnold, members of the chamber music group SATORI (www.satori-chambermusic.org) are in the studio tracking their debut release as Two Part Invention, featuring classical guitar and flute. Nora Suggs and John Arnold have been playing together in Satori for several years and recently started performing as a duo. John is also the Director of the Classical Guitar Program at Moravian College who will be hosting the 3rd Annual Bethlehem Guitar Festival - "Chamber Music & Guitar" on Saturday June 7. Satori will perform as part of this festival. The Baltimore Consort, the featured performers for this festival, will perform their own arrangements of early music from England, Scotland and France, as well as traditonal balladry and dance tunes preserved in the Appalachian mountains and Nova Scotia.

On another musical note, Satori, is administering the Gift of Music Program, which is designed to collect "old" instruments, refurbish them and give them to young students interested in music who do not have the means to afford them. Do you have an instrument in your household that no one is currently using, feel like helping a fellow "future" musician who cannot afford an instrument and get a tax deduction to boot? Give Nora Suggs a call at 610-435-6036 and learn more about the Gift of Music Program in the Lehigh Valley. And, if you want a place to drop off your instruments, you can deposit them at the WDIY/Bummer Tent Stage at RiverFusion on May 4.

All 14 tracks are completed for the upcoming A Bummer Tent Collection - Blues, Volume II, featuring the best Blues musicians in the Lehigh Valley. The CD release concert for Blues, Volume II sponsored by Bummer Tent Records and the Lehigh Valley Blues Network will be held on Sunday June 22 at the Roxy Theatre. If you were there last year, you know it was a great time. And, if not, shame on you.

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Inside the Bummer Tent - check it out the first Friday of every month (usually) or view past articles on-line at www.bummertent.com. Thanks to all the people who have sent us e-mails and comments - we really appreciate hearing from you.