Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Molasses Creek Travels: From LEAF Festival to Ocracoke to Floydfest

Molasses Creek with Fiddler Dave's parents at Opsail 2012, VA
Hi friends!  It has been a very busy summer so far.  We're catching up on our news in this letter.  Before we tell ya what has been happening, here are our upcoming performances off of Ocracoke Island, NC.

Upcoming performances

Sunday, August 12, 7 PM ~ Greenville Sunday in the Park, Greenville, NC
Saturday, Sept 14,7:30 PM ~ Arts Council of Wilson, NC
Wednesday, Oct 10 ~ Ashland Coffee and Tea, VA
October 11-13 ~ Residency and Concert with Avalon Theatre, Easton, MD
Saturday, Oct 20 ~ Outer Banks Seafood Festival, NC
Saturday, Oct 27 ~ RA Fountain General Store, Fountain, NC
Sunday, Oct 28, 3:00 PM ~ Davidson Community Concert Series, Davidson, NC
Thursday, Nov 1 ~ Baldwin Station, Sykesville, MD
Friday, Nov 2 ~ Susquehanna Folk Music Society, New Cumberland,PA
Saturday, Nov 3 ~ Hersey Area Playhouse, Hershey, PA

If you are interested in helping to promote any shows in your region, please visit our Street Team page at  We'll send you at least 10 posters to put up and the new album as a thank you!

***If you are traveling to Ocracoke Island, NC June-Sept, Molasses Creek performs every Thursday night at their own Deepwater Theater ***

Here's what's been happening!

On Wednesday, May 9 we traveled to Takoma Park, MD for a concert with the Institute of Musical Traditions.  While in town we crossed paths with Charlie Pilzer and he took us over for a late-night tour of his Airshow Mastering studio.  Gary was in sound dreamland eyeing some awfully nice mikes and equipment, as well as Charlie’s world famous highly tuned ears.

Charlie Pilzer gives Molasses Creek a tour of the Air Show's toys.

The next morning we high-tailed it Black Mountain, NC to perform at the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF).  What an incredible gathering, nestled in the mountains around at lake at the historic site of the Black Mountain College!   Thousands of campers spread across the valley and up the side of the mountain.  The performers and festival goers lovingly shared a weekend of creative world music, locally grown food, contra-dancing, family activities, healing arts, and some wild n’crazy activities like trapezing, and riding ziplines down the side of the mountain into a frosty/misty lake.  Many thanks to Billy Jack and all of the workers and volunteers for hosting us! 

Canadian Stiltwalkers

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

On Sunday, May 13, we left the LEAF festival and traveled to the Unitarian Church of Asheville for a concert with the Mountain Spirit Coffeehouse.  This long-running series, captained by Don and Louise Baker, is held in one of the most beautiful sanctuaries that we have every played.  The main room of the church has perfect acoustics and reminded us more of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre rather than a conventional religious meeting house. The enthusiastic audience joined in with clapping hands and voices on old favorites.  What a great community.  Thank you!
We're always on the lookout for regional food specialties . . . but this was something new. . .
Next we traveled down to Hendersonville, NC for a concert at the Blue Ridge Community College Music by the Lake Series on Tuesday.   Our concert was supposed to be outdoors around the college lake, but a stormy afternoon and evening caused us to move the event indoors.  Loved playing for folks in the area and visiting with our host and friend at the college, Martha Howell. 

We spent a couple of days in Hendersonville staying with our friends, Frank and Ethlyn Byrd, and seeing the sights.  Nearby is the Pisgah National Forest, where the recent adaptation of Suzanne Collin’s great book, The Hunger Games, was filmed.  We went on a couple of hikes and ate a wonderful lunch from the lookout atop the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Pisgah Inn.
Gary makes the ultimate sacrifice for the band vehicle.

      Next, Molasses Creek traveled to Montreat Conference Center for the annual Southeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference, SERFA. 
Montreat Conference Center, NC
We spent the weekend catching up with old friends, participating in workshops, and enjoying the inspiring talents of new musicians.  Gary taught a workshop on small PA usage for performers, and the band also joined radio promoter, Kari Estrin, to talk about the process of promoting our new release, “An Island Out of Time.”

Although we enjoyed the time in the mountains, after a month on the road we were definitely eager to return to Ocracoke Island to prepare for the impending Ocrafolk Festival.  Fiddler Dave is the general director and Gary Mitchell the entertainment director .  . . and Marcy and Lou are no slackers either when it comes to the grit of festival production. With only two weeks to go there was a lot of work to finish!  Before we knew it, June 1st had arrived and with it, the Festival and the seasonal opening of the shows at our own Deepwater Theater. 

Ocrafolk Festival crowd
The weekend after the festival, we were excited to be able to join Bob Zentz at the Opsail 2012, Virginia.  This celebration features some of the largest sailing vessels from countries around the world.  The ones that caught our attention the most were the wonderfully smelling Mexican ship, the Cuauhtemoc, (they were making tortillas on a flattop in the galley), and the Indonesian vessel,
Dewaruci, which featured specially carved masts represented different regions of the Indonesian islands. 
Bring on the Tall Ships at Norfolk's Opsail 2012!

Indonesian Dewaruci
Ornaments on masts of the Dewaruci

            Molasses Creek also enjoyed crossing paths with Michael Rondstadt and his sons for a performance by Rondstadt Generations.  We hosted them down on Ocracoke about three years ago.  They're still making great music!
            While in town, Bob Zentz and Jean McDougal took us to a Norfolk hometown favorite, Doumars Cones and Barbecue.  The classic ice cream parlor was established in 1934 by Albert Doumar. 

Albert's uncle, Abe, introduced the waffle cone to the US at the 1904 St Louis Exposition. Bob Zentz has been going there since he was a boy.  Doumars has quite a collection of year books from the local high school.  We were able to find Bob Zentz's high school picture (Bob's mom's yearbook was somewhere around as well, but we couldn't locate it).

Thanks to Bob and Jean for the hard work and great tunes!
Back on Ocracoke, Deepwater Theater shows were up and running with Monday nights featuring You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet (Ocracoke stories with Philip and Amy Howard - Fiddler Dave’s wife), Wednesdays' Ocrafolk Opry show sporting the talents of island musicians and storytellers, and Thursday being the home night for Molasses Creek (sold out shows so far this season!)

Marcy and Lou sweatin' it up at the Croakerfest in Oriental, NC
            We zipped over to play for the Pamlico Music Society at the Croaker Festival in Oriental, NC on Saturday, July 7.  Whew!  That was one of the hottest we have played.  Many thanks Debra Khouri and to the fans that packed our tent and hung on for a two hour sweat-a-thon!  What a bonding experience!  We thought about opening a Weight Loss Concert Series after that one.  Always a thrill to play in Oriental.  Such a sweet place and great folks to go with it!
Floydfest Sculture
Always good to stay connected with your friends at a big festival.
            Our most recent touring excitement was a trip to play at FloydFest near Floyd, VA. This huge event is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and features a lot of big names from all over the country.  We performed two sets a day Thursday-Sunday and enjoyed some of the best hospitality anywhere.  The thrill of seeing some of our heroes like Alison Krauss and Union Station, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers, Darryl Scott, Bruce Hornsby, and Jackson Browne, combined with the thrill of seeing some new/unknown acts from farther afield.  The spirit of the campers, performers, volunteers, and beautiful weather culminated in a magic weekend.  Thanks to Kris Hodges, the hard working crew at Across-the-Way Productions, and all of the dedicated helpers for making a incredible weekend!  Also many thanks to Marcy's friend Bernd for hosting all of us over the weekend!  Fabuloso!
Mainstage at Floydfest
Sara and Sean Watkins
Holler Stage at Floydfest
Gerald with Ricky Skaggs holding Gerald's mandolin (used to be Ricky's mandolin!)
Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers at Floydfest
Sam Bush band at Floydfest
Wilmington's L Shape Lot rocking out at Floydfest

MarchFourth Hula Hooper
MarchFourth Stiltwalker
MarchFourth Stiltwalker

All is quiet in the back seat.  What could possibly be happening?!
            Upcoming this Sunday, we will be at one of our favorite events of the year, Greenville Sunday Concert in the Park in Greenville, NC.  The show begins at 7 PM, and we will again be joined by hometown favorites, the Green Grass Cloggers.  Get ready for some high steppin’ fun!

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