Guitars and Grimm's Fairy Tales
- by Brandy Crowe
You may have noticed it If you have driven through Salem on the Interstate 5 corridor. It is a colorful and strange attraction, with Humpty Dumpty waving to the highway, plaster cottages and a roller coaster jutting above a tuft of forest-The Enchanted Forest.
So here is a thought. Here’s a really good idea. What if, for one day in the height of summer, among all of the destination music festivals, one took place in an amusement park. What if you invite the best of local bands, and have them play throughout the park with dwarves, blue fairies, and roller coasters!
And so you have it, creative minds made it happen, and simply dubbed the festival “The Great Idea”.
This year was the fourth incarnation of the festival, and included 22 acts among the 8 acre spread. The festival is unique, as it boasts itself as a music event for all ages. Many people rocking out have fond memories of visiting the park when they were kids, and this event provided a great opportunity for families to share music and dancing with their youngsters.
I arrived with three girls in tow, and we went inside the gingerbread house, where eerie dolls portrayed the story of Hansel and Gretel. Hansel was in a cage. Most of the fairy tale attractions are are a bit dated, mannequins hang dead-eyed out of windows and softly speak stories. As Lone Madrone played a brushy western sound in the trees, we proceeded to black-lit caverns where animatronic dwarves were harvesting jewels. Two guys behind us were giggling hysterically and completely happy, I’m pretty sure they were on mushrooms.
The entire park is indeed, nestled in a beautiful forest, completely shaded, and full of mazes and slides. Throughout the day, different bands played simultaneously in different areas. The music had started with L’Orchestra D'Incroyable and the sunny sounds of Axolotl Daydream. Rllrbll rocked out in Western Town, and in The Village, children twirled to the acoustic twinkling and impressive harmonies of The Weather Machine, right in front of where those “four and twenty” blackbirds in a pie pitched their demo during snack time. We explored up and down the hill, catching one of my favorite rock sets from an energetic band called Phantom! (The ! is part of the name, and I can’t find them. If anyone can send me links to the music, help a girl out and comment below).
The Jolly Roger portion of the park, ended up not as a pirate themed area, as I had imagined, but rather a bizarro Holocene with experimental solo sets. First there was A.C. Jenson of Rollie Fingers, who somehow pushes huge guitar riffs as electronic recordings while manning a drum kit. Then there was Joe Preston, AKA Thrones. Thrones calls his work visceral, and you can see him plotting and accessing his moves on stage. The bass and feedback are dark and decimating, they radiate outwards, but there are also silent and internal spaces. Everyone in the room was transfixed, and shadows were cast from the lights of the dancing water fountains.
Hearing And And And as we climbed the hill to The Big Timber Log Ride was surreal. We splashed down and went to the Haunted House, which looks truly spooky. For whatever reason Abe Lincoln was hanging out near one of my favorite brewers, Gilgamesh, who was on hand to pour their delicious beers. Sons of Huns thrashed on a stage decorated as “Geppetto’s Toy Shop”, and everyone was sitting down, which was...different. My daughter was briefly entranced by the pixie-like quality of Lost Lockets' Kaetlin Kennedy, and there was a lot of dancing, and quite a few kids were bouncing on shoulders during the headlining set of The Builders and the Butchers.
The drive home to Portland was accompanied with rainbows for miles, punctuating the enchanting experience.
The Weather Machine
And And And