MC Sparkplug
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MC Sparkplug

Yorktown, Indiana, United States

Yorktown, Indiana, United States
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Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to see a lot of artists perform as well as conduct interviews for our site to tell their side of the story. There was however one particular artist (or I should really say two) that I haven't gotten the opportunity to sit down with for a formal interview, but let me tell you, this is a group worth mentioning.

The first time I saw Lady and Tony of MC Sparkplug perform was at Springfest in Muncie, Indiana. The chemistry the two shared on stage was amazing and incredibly contagious. They were playful, fun, and energetic. I haven't seen any other acts quite like these two. After Springfest they made their way to Lafayette, Indiana to perform. I got to speak with the couple, and they were just as nice as the positive vibes they give off stage. The two again performed in Lafayette opening for Boombox.

I wanted to write this article, not only because of how much MC Sparkplug's act really stuck out in my mind, but also to school you a little on the history of the MC. Don't tune me out just yet, it's actually quite interesting.

The term MC originates from the Catholic Church meaning Master of Ceremonies who was an official in the Papal court in charge of conducting sacred rituals. This term dates back all the way to the 15th century. Over time, the term has been used in relation to comedy clubs and even the Boy Scouts of America. The most influential usage and what you probably know the term used as is how the term was coined by hip hop.

Towards the later 70s an MC was a rapper who used pre-written or freestyle lyrics in order to praise the DJ, comment on his own stature, express his ideas on social and political issues, or just get the crowd bumping. As hip hop became more nationally known, the MC was interchanged with other terms such as Music Commentator, Microphone Controller, and Mic Checka. See it wasn't that bad, and hopefully you learned something!

So if you get the chance, be sure to check out MC Sparkplug. They will be performing in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois, including a performance at Peace Through Music festival which I highly recommend attending! - Seema A. Choudhary


The Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival is an institution in Kentucky, having produced a stellar array of shows over the past two decades. Finally, a chance to see what all my friends had ravedabout. Nestled deep in the heart of my home state is an organic teaching farm and home to a music festival that draws tens of thousands to its humble environs. At close to 400 acres, it’s natural approach to growing fruits and vegetables is a shining example of Mother Natures power.

From seed to field to table, your food remains untouched by harsh chemical fertilizers and pesticides, treated instead with something rare in the food industry: Love. Pete and Brenda Cashel and their three children Kelby, Deanna and Jonah work the farm like generations before and hopefully, by their example, generations to come and it is in this rich, nurturing environment that the Terrapin Hill Music Festival has sunk it’s roots and blossomed into an annual tradition for all ages. With a stellar lineup of acts ranging from the legendary Del McCoury Band, psychedelic bluegrass masters Cornmeal, the funk supergroup The Superheroes to 12 year old singer/songwriter sensation Almira Fawn this year’s Terrapin Hill music festival had the makings of a bumper crop of good times a great music.


This is what this is all about, love.Clocking in as the shortest trip in my year long music festival journey, the Terrapin Hill Farm rests at the end of a windy country road, near Harrodsburg, KY and a short ninety minutes from my front doorstep. Several friends of mine have tried over the years to get me to make this shortThis family has nothing but love for you voyage, and yet somehow something always came up and caused me to miss it. The stories my friends would return with, of incredible tunes, massively relaxed family style atmosphere and loving environment had me swearing that next year, man, I’m going to make it. I finally got to keep that promise to myself, and as I cleared the first few hills driving into the farm proper one story bubbled usefully to the top of my mind, the story of the year it rained so hard and so long that the fest was nearly washed away. Surprised at my brains usefulness I spied and quickly took a camping spot on high ground, over looking the fields. After realizing that I had managed to forget a key bit of my camping gear (Now there’s that brain I know and love!) I got on to a favorite ritual of mine: The meeting of my neighbors. I’ve attended dozens and dozens of music festivals, and without question, the luck I’ve had in scoring good neighbors is a true statistical anomaly. I suppose that I’m working in a skewed formula, since I’m positive that the attendees of most music festivals are of a more enlightened bent to begin with. I’m fishing in a well stocked pond as it were.


So of course my neighbor had an air pump I could borrow, and a better mallet than the crappy one I’d brought, as well as an Make someone smile, yes you did.incredible array of live shows to play for me and a handy flag pole to mark the spot for me for those 5:45 a.m. crawls back to the tent. It was what he didn’t have that brought Family is the musicme the biggest smile I’d get the whole weekend long. As we stood around listening to moe.‘s closing Summercamp Music Festival set from 2009, we chatted about the different music festivals that we had attended this year, exchanging stories and tales of weirdness. When he mentioned that he’d been at the Allgood Music Festival I told him how jealous I was. I love that festival, but it coincided with The Forecastle Music Festival, so I had chose to stay and give the hometown some Love (And see a killer lineup, as well. Poor poor me) He regaled me with stories of fabulous sets and wonderful people, stories I had already heard from our beloved leader, the illustrious Dr.Trip, who was at the Allgood Music Festival himself, revisiting the origin of the species as it were. It was fun to hear another viewpoint on the same story, as it’s always been a love of mine to see all sides to a story. Then my new neighbor told me one last story, a tale of loss and woe, that, much to my surprise I had also heard before, albeit from a different source and in a different context.


“Somebody stole our flag, man” he said and a strange wave of recognition coursed through me. I flashed back to weeks earlier and opening an Surrendered the bootyemail from Dr.Trip containing his review of his trip to the Allgood Music Festival. As soon as I finished reading his review I called him and asked him the most obvious question: You stole somebody’s flag?! Uncool! This generated a back and forth between us on the ethics of the theft, with Doc’s view point being Where is the darkness fromthat it was not immoral to steal a pirate’s flag, and that any one flying the Jolly Rodger had to be prepared to defend it at all times. This seemed a bit ludicrous to me, but I couldn’t argue with the weird passion with which he defended his actions. As is my wont, I quizzed most everyone I met for about a week on their viewpoint(I should have been a pollster!) on the intricacies of pirate flag theft ethics, and had received a near even split up to that point. He had already noticed the look in my eyes as I asked him, hope against hope if it was, by any chance a skull and crossbones. His eyes narrowed and through a shark like grin he asked me the question of the weekend: “Where’s my flag man?!”


Since my own, eco-friendly cell phone wasn’t getting any reception I borrowed his and dialed Doc’s number with an increasing amount of realization at how wonderful a place the universe Just gotta get down!truly was. After a speedy exchange of pleasantries I handed the phone off to my pirate friend with a simple “Hey, I’ve got someone here who wants to talk to you”. “Where’s my flag, man?” he repeated and for the next few minutes I imagined Doc’s side of the conversation, as I heard the questions I had asked earlier repeated, this time with far more weight to the words than mine would ever You are the yyes of the worldhave. Please don’t get the impression, oh gentle reader that this was a heated scene, or that my new pirate friend was nothing but genial and good natured about the whole thing. As he and his girlfriend had stressed, “We were sure that we’d hear a great story one day!” and I was just lucky enough to be there. After a few minutes he handed me back his phone, to a bewildered Doc asking me how I do these crazy thing I do, like finding the guy whose flag he stole as my neighbor hundreds of miles from the scene of the crime. The situation has reached the parley stage, and I think both sides will soon come to an agreement. In the meantime, this whole goofy business has given me an idea. Next Year, I will fly a Festival Family flag from my campsite, and will invite you all to try your hands at stealing it. Those lucky enough to snag it will be offered a chance to ransom it back to me for some cool schwag. (Legal note: Not actual schwag. No schwag were harmed in the typing of this article.)


Sexual Disaster Quartet This one in a million meeting convinced that this was an omen, that I was in for something truly special, and boy was I ever. As I made the short walk to the stage are I was amazed at the beauty and earthiness of the farms venue. The stages were built by Pete, legends say almost entirely by his lonesome. The hand crafted nature of the main stage, and it’s found wood Terrapin Hill sign gracing the main stage proudly, centered high above the artists bespoke a honesty that you just Angels with dirty facescan’t find in the neon madness of the major music festivals. The main stage rests at the foot of the Hill itself, While the Chapel stage matches it’s bigger brother in natural charm, if not in size. Rounding out the stages was a small covered pavilion, rightly labeled the Pavilion stage. Nice when things work out like that, isn’t it? The stages are all within minutes of each other, facing opposite directions for minimal sound bleed, the pavilion stage being central to the heart of the music festival, with shakedown street stretching off in three directions. The layout surveyed and the splendor of the great outdoors embraced, I zipped to the chapel stage and caught the Sexual Disaster Quartet, a band that embraces a free thinking philosophy, mixing Old time romantic standards with avante garde jazz ala the Zappa school of weirdness. Having only heard about them in passing I was startled by their musicianship and fiery front man. Impressive first set, and it ended with my first glimpse of Pete at work, as I noted the tye-dyed overalls on the guy driving the tractor through the early crowd, smiling and waving to everyone he passed, apparently dropping of supplies to the first aid tent, staffed by some of Kentucky’s finest EMT’s and Firemen. I always make a point out of swinging by and giving thanks to these folks at music festivals as they’re the ones who make it so that we can all get together out there without worry, that trained individuals are standing by with only our welfare in mind.


A couple of weeks ago I saw Papadosio for the first time, and they repeated their impressive performance with a second helping of a potent mixture of swirling funk and electronic jams. As The only band that got to use lights!the skies started to threaten, Moon Taxi took the stage. A gentle rain started to drift down as Moon Taxi delivered a rocking, solid set of honest to goodness rock and roll songs! The great thing about music festivals is that you get to see such a wide array of music. Though the Terrapin Hill Music Festival has long been known for it’s Bluegrass, it’s also a place to discover bands well outside of the grassy realms. The rains gathered in strength and the band played on. The rain started to soak them and still Moon Taxi played on. And as their set ended and clouds parted ways, Moon Taxi gave a spirited finale to a fun set. Dodging the normal paced festivilians, I hurried over to catch one of the bands I was really looking forward to, Greensky Bluegrass.


This would be the third time seeing the Greensky Bluegrass this year and I was stoked. These guys just sound right to my ears, I just don’t know how else to describe it. They blend into a very traditionally bluegrass line up of instrumentation, but make a sound that’s anything but. alt A lot of bluegrass bands throw in a popular cover tune to showcase their styles juxtaposed, but when Greensky Bluegrass play, say, their cover of the Talking Heads “Road to Nowhere” it sounds like them playing one of their own songs, so comfortable are they in their own musical skins. After their set the band proceeded to swing around to the front of the stage and get their grooves on to the mic stylings of MC Sparkplug, a rapping duo made up of Tony Z and Punky Moon Lover. Having been too exhausted to do any more than listen to their set from the cozy The beat of lifeconfines of my tent at the Wuhnurth Music Festival I was glad to get a chance to see what the hub dub was about. Working with prerecorded beats the duo strode the stage with a playful attitude and a palpable affection for each other that was both sweet and infectious. Maybe it was the late night energy they were spiting or the ozone crackling in the air but the crowd danced up front danced with huge grins and big spins, while towards the back of the pavilion heads bobbed to the beats and tapped their feet(s). A great way to end the day indeed.


The weather predicted for the weekend was rain, and I had been hoping my streak of good weather at festivals would continue. I even kinda bragged on how good I’d had it all summer long.Rain can't ruin these smiles Egotists might claim some sort of karmic retribution for the soaking we got, but I’m a statistics minded fella, and I just ran out of sunny days I guess. It happens to all of us sometime or another, and it rains on the just and unjust alike, so I guess it’s a great equalizer. Besides playing hell with cameras, it also play havoc with that noblest of music festival denizen, the Taper. John Radawski, known as “Radar” is a dedicated taper who withstood the elements to tape the entire festival, start to finish. Better than the Post Office he was! So Friday the rains started and I thanked my waterproof suit for my dry feet and worked on, sealed against the ever increasing power of the storms. Louisville favorites Bloom street and the Vessel took the Chapel stage by storm, releasing their jams in defiance of the rains and the dark clouds that were forming. I was again unprepared for how good the Vessel has gotten. We’ll be hearing lots more from them in the future. And now it was time to go catch my first set at the main stage, StoneWheel. The rains kicked up a notch and the band continued on, risking valued equipment to deliver a rocking set, that had me purchasing their disc ASAP.


Age has nothing to with nothing As the young Ms. Fawn prepared to take the stage I could see the worry in the eyes of the Sound and light guys, who put forth tireless effort over the weekend to keep the music going. The rains were starting to flood the main stage, and after mixing the first few songs while standing in ankle deep water, The stage’s power had to be cut for our safety. Almira took it all in stride and as we all Light my fire Terrapinhuddled under their stage’s protection against near apocalyptic deluges, she said confidently ”Now I have a story to tell!” Her spirit undashed she headed out as the decision was made to move the rest of the music to the covered Pavilion. Informed of this, Del McCoury showed the wisdom and experience of his years and cheerfully drove himself and his sons to the stage without a word of complaint or grouse, happy that the show was going on. Halfway through their smoking set the rains again abated, respected the powerful performance being put on. As the band employed the time honored tradition of mic sharing, swooping in and out to create depth of sound effects that many studio engineers would envy. The crowd responded in kind, and we had us a hoedown! After a passionate set from local faves The Rumpke Mountain Boys I decide I had better high tail it back before the storms broke again.


Rain Could Not Ruin This Party It’s so easy to sleep when it’s raining, and as I lay in my tent for the next several hours I had the best night sleep I’ve ever had at a festival. Staying in bed to the extremely late hour of 1 Rain Rain Go AwayP.M. I finally unzipped my tent to a surprise: Where yesterday there was a field, I was now camped uphill from a LAKE! Not just a little puddle mind you, but a nipple deep lake. As I stood bewildered at this change in topography I heard what was soon to become a familiar sound, the sound of Pete and his tractor, coming to the aid of motorists stranded in the mud. I can’t heap enough praise on Pete and his crew for their efforts. I wonder how many music festival promoters would spend their entire weekend working so tirelessly to keep the show going. The hills I had crested on the way in had filled in and we had become our own island nation, sovereign in our determination to let the show go on. As I stood at the edge of the new formed lake wondering how to get myself and my camera gear across, up roared Pete, beckoning me to join him on his tractor to ford the imposing bottle of water. After gathering all that could cling to the tractor, we started across, and I took the opportunity to ask a few questions from the man himself. After being assured of our safety and ability to get out if needed, I asked the most important question, “Would the bands still be able to get in (especially Cornmeal, my faves) Cornmeal has played the festival many years running and forged a bond with Pete and his family, and Pete assured me That Cornmeal would be there”Come hell or high water” We both realized the hilariousness timing of his comment while crossing Lake Terrapin and shared a hearty laugh. Deposited securely on the other side, I thanked my host and joined the other die hard music fans for the days jams.


Mc Sparkplug , had taken the stage and were doing their best to entertain the kids, who were obviously loving being covered in mud. Born Cross Eyed and The Rudies continued the party, with a jammin Green Genes chaser.


Wading through knee deep mud to the reopened Chapel stage I got to see Cornmeal arrive, precariously balanced on a trailer bed being towed by the ubiquitous Pete and his tractor. Despite altthe weather, and the light being reduced to a bank of white spotlights shining directly in their faces, Cornmeal did what they always do, rewarding the faithful Allie, you look good in glasses.and converting the uninitiated with the psychedelic bluegrass majesty. Not letting anything stop them, they came through with a set made all the more impressive by it’s degree of difficulty. Following them was the center piece of the weekend, a funky combination of Legendary Meter members George Porter, Jr. and Leo Nocentelli along with organist supreme Bernie Worrel and the fabulous Adam Deitch on the skins. As the strains of “Fire on the Bayou” and “Sissy Strut” emanated from the stage, the hill became a muddy writhing mass of humanity, rejoined with the mud from whence we came. With my soul sufficiently rocked I began my trek back to camp, with visions of crossing the lake on foot dancing through my mind, knowing that my water proof pants were good, but not that good, when I was amazed to discover that the waters had receded, and that we were again a part of the mainland. The skies cleared and I spent a long time pondering the night sky, free from the glare off the city lights. The party that broke out as I shot my night pix will stand out forever in my mind as one of the best!


The next morning I made a decision and a phone call I had been dreading. I had set u an interview with Cornmeal, which was now going to have to be delayed due to weather, and had hired a friend of mine, Amber Sigman, a real photographer( not an inmaginary one like myself) to come and shoot the proceedings. I rang her and gave her the bad news of the mudslides and impassibility, and the disappointment in her voice mirrored my own, as it would have been nice to have a true professional there to observe and learn from. Boy, if you lived in the Louisville,Ky area and needed a photographer, Amber, would be the smartest choice available. (Please forgive the obvious plub, but she has a hostage!)

Everything is better from behindCornmeal took the Chapel stage for one last set of the creamy, mud covered goodness. All who remained came out, with suddenly clear blue skies as the backdrop, we danced in the mud one last time, whirling in time to the sweet sounds of Cornmeal, as even our host stopped his Herculean towing efforts to take time to dance with his wife, bootscootin’ on the earth he normally tilled to provide a bounty for our bodies, now converted to provide a bounty for our souls. I wish I was a better writer, so that I could more accurately convey the sense of camaraderie that was present all weekend, as we were all in it together, or the love that the crowd was heaping on our hosts. No complaints about the weather, just acceptance and love. That’s pretty much a dream come true if you ask me. And, if you were to ask me if I’ll be at any party Pete and His beautiful family choose to throw in the future, my answer will be a simple “Come hell or high water!” - Rex Thomson


Wuhnurth: A "Wuhn"-derful weekend! In just it's second year the Wuhnurth festival delivered a fun line-up, scenic camping and a laid back vibe that still resonates inside me days later. One of the advantages of smaller festivals is the sense of camaraderie that is engendered by seeing the same faces all weekend long. Unlike the feeling of swimming the great oceans of humanity that make up fests like Bonnarooo and Coachella, Wuhnurth was the perfect size for people looking to enjoy their music without the hustle and bustle.

Nestled just outside of Muncie Indiana, a popular local venue "The Waterbowl" featured two small lakes, one for swimming and one for water sports (Such as waterskiing!) The Waterbowl seems to have its main usage as an area residents to come and beat the hat and enjoy a little of the great outdoors. Acres of wooded camping and sweeping fields of soy gave a picturesque feel to the weekend and set an earthy, natural backdrop for the festivities.

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The founder of Wuhnurth, James Nimmer, has a noble vision; Bring people together for a few days of blissful escape from the daily pressures they face with music and love, and to turn all that into something positive for his community. Any and all profits from the festival have been earmarked for local projects, from tree plantings and public gardens to trash pickup and beautification. It's not often you find someone willing to put in as much time and effort into a project with no tangible reward, and the scene is lucky to have someone like the hard-working Mr.Nimmer out there on the frontlines. My brief interactions with him were always cut short due to his need to be every where at once, making sure that all attendees were having as much fun as was humanly possible, and I was impressed with how seriously he was taking it all. His passion was contagious, as each morning, unbidden and without any need for pay or reward, groups of strangers gathered to pick up any stray cigarette butts and trash left behind from the previous night. It was a heartwarming sight that I chose to participate in, rather than photograph. Though I felt like I was perhaps sloughing off my journalistic endeavors, those few minutes laughing and gathering up trash with random do-gooders will always be one of my favorite memories of the festival.



I first heard about this festival from some new friends I made earlier this summer at the Forecastle Festival (Another environmental gathering) from Dave and Lisa Cook, who were part of the Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009 staff/organizers. I quickly grew fond of Dave's wit and Lisa's radiant love of life, a strong combination indeed. Along with their friends Megan and Zander (Sadly no Killface) it was nice to have such decent helpful people working to make our festie lives better. Dave and Zander headed up artist catering (Dave's new Business! Any fest of any size would do well to hire this gentleman.) ably feeding the dozens of musicians, giving them the strength to keep doing what they do, while Megan headed up vending liaisons with diplomacy and intellect. Lisa seemed to be responsible for most everything else as I saw her roaming the grounds all weekend long, when even a fierce allergy attack on Sunday did little to dampen her spirits. In particular I'd like to thank Dave, who let me "Sample" many of the dishes he created over the weekend.





alt Arriving early on Friday I was able to grab a camping spot overlooking the swimming lake, providing me with glorious sunrises and the most relaxing camping conditions I have had so far this year. Continuing my luck with neighbors, I found myself surrounded with families and friendly faces, all of them looking out for each other, united by more than just proximity, but the simple, basic formation of a tribe, all together to have a good time and share the groove. A welcome feeling indeed. After setting up camp (In record time! I'm getting good at it!) I wandered the grounds getting a feel for the place. A bustling shakedown, located next to the Hill stage (an old mixed purpose overhanging shell structure that saw plenty of powerful music!) featured a wide variety of gifts and one-of-a-kind hand-crafted goods. There was even a woman who was hand making nak necklaces on the spot, weaving beads and colored glass into whatever style you wished. Such displays were plentiful, and helped knock down the walls of craftsperson and craft, as you were able to watch the effort put into the act of creation. I spoke with a few of the happy customers who felt that the show they got was while she deftly wove the necklaces was almost worth the price in and of it self. Thus having oriented myself it was time to get down to the nitty gritty. Now it was time to slow my roll and get some music in my soul.


Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009 Kicking off the main stage activities for Friday was Shaggy Wonda, out of Bloomington, Indiana that I have somehow managed to miss at the couple of fests where I'd previously had a chance to catch them. Strong, funky song played with a go for broke energy that got the crowd boogying away. Their set was a great way to kickoff the fest, and set the tone of the weekend in surprising myself and all who hadn’t seen them with skill and passion. There were a couple of bands completely new to me and I felt a pain to come in my wallet from all the CD’s I’ll be buying over the next couple of weeks, Shaggy Wonda’s being the first.



The Hill stage was primarily used to give us short glimpses into the music of a wide variety of artists while the crew switched out acts on the main stage. A short walk up the hill gave us tantalizing glimpses of bands like Third Floor Meeting, The Great Hook-up and the Shadyside All-Stars (www.shadysideallstars.com) a chance to make their music heard. Though the red-headed step child of the three stages appearance wise, the hill stage still served up a heady mix of tunes, from singer-songwriter acts to full on funk explosions.


Next up, my seventh Cornmeal show of the year, and as usual, their playing was even tighter than it was the last time, just three weeks ago. There are Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009 times at Cornmeal’s show I found myself forgetting my camera duties, my surroundings, hell, even sometimes to breathe I was so lost in what they’re doing on stage. One of these days they’ll put on a set so incredible I pass out from lack of oxygen, but at least I’ll go down smiling. The blending of their instruments brings a sort of jamband rock-n-bluegrass kinda feel that I have never heard anywhere else. So musically adept that they can go from fast picking Bluegrass to Psychedelic freakouts in moments, all with the confidence and surety of a band coming into a renaissance.




After my recovering from my oxygen depleted state I managed to travel to the Field stage for the first time, to catch my friend Megan Maudlin’s set. Speaking of musical surprises, I didn’t even know Megan played an instrument, much less could sing with such fire and passion. Accompanied by a harmonica player, she stood proudly in center stage and wowed the crowd with tales of her life and examinations of thought that belied her age. After her set, a woman approached me and asked me if I got some good shots of Megan. After I assured her that I had, she told me that was a good thing, ‘cause she was going to be famous. I’ll say this, if she keeps going like this, nothing’ll stop her.




alt My final surprises of the day were The Roots of Creation and The Fresh Hops. The Roots of Creation closed out the main stage with an electric set that mixed most every type of music from folk to ska at which got the crowd up and dancing. Heading over to the field stage I discovered that they were having a problem with the generators and that some acts, such as MC Sparkplug, were moved to later in the evening on the main stage. When the members of Fresh Hops arrived, they were informed that the power was fluctuating and there was a real danger of shorting out. They talked it over for about twenty seconds and then started hauling their equipment on stage. Already enamored by their Rock-n-Roll attitude I was amazed as they took the stage. Fronted by a flamboyant gypsy style violinist and occasionally joined by a freestylist of Arabic decent, who whipped the crowd into a frenzy. I mentioned his ethnicity for a contextual reason, as this performance took place on September 11th and I felt the healing power of time and music. Eight years have passed since that horrible day, and here we were, united, locked in a celebration of life. Besides the killer jams, the Fresh Hops were also generous with their stage space as by the end of their set they were sharing the stage with a dog, a couple of dancing girls, a guy in a penguin costume and a twelve year old displaying front man chops many full grown adults should envy.





Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009 After the 4amset finish, I decided to enjoy the rest of the evenings music from my tent, and I drifted off to sleep to the sounds of MC Sparkplug. I awoke excited on Saturday morning, as I had a fun appointment to keep. I had made plans to meet up with some of the members of festival family and another, more,… “Basic” site. A good friend of mine, Milo, was driving up with a “special” treat for the group! His special small batch bacon infused vodka. After the fun of putting faces with screen names and on- line personas, Bloody Mary’s were made, bacon vodka was sampled (and roundly enjoyed), cornhole was played, friendships strengthened. To Nate, Matt, Greg and all the rest I thank you for your welcoming natures and your sense of humor. Wooo wooo wooo wooo wooo, indeed.




A new family formed we headed to the stages to enjoy the days entertainment. It’s so easy to focus on the bands and crowd, I often (to my chagrin) forget to mention the hard working folks Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009running the sound and light boards. Wuhnurth featured a particularly impressive set of lighting guys. The band Covert Operations, who own a rather sizable set of audio and video equipment, which they used not just for themselves but for other band and fests. Easily the hardest working band all weekend, as they helped setup, light, and audio engineer every band who played the main stage all weekend long, while the field stage featured the wizardry of Alex who goes by the nickname Herm. Back to Covert Operations a little later.
Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009 When you shoot concert photography, you have a love/hate relationship with lighting techs. They make plain shots amazing and can turn perfect shots to crap by simply doing their jobs, changing the lighting from second to second. Herm made visual magic, fusing his customized computer programs on his trusty laptop with his eyes and ears into one organ, bent on making the experience as visually appealing as possible. Lights rose and fell with tempo, dramatic bursts timed perfectly with the music. This gentleman’s skills were on a par with some of the names in the lighting biz, and I predict this young man’s star shines quite brightly in the future.


So with the memories of last night’s lights dancing in my head and the afternoon’s bacon feast dancing in my belly (Ah yes, heavy bacon on an empty stomach walking around in the afternoon sun with about twenty pounds on your back. Good for digestion.) I made the afternoon set from the Vessel. They seemed far sharper and focused than the last time I’d seen them, and am looking for chances to see them again. Contemporary Bluegrass/Rock/folk/ hell maybe I heard a little jazz in there sound and at times seriously bombastic. That intriguing blend of styles was followed by the always sure to make you smile Family Groove Company. They always seem to be having such fun up there, so good to see live.




Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009 Due to some travel issues, Papadosio and the Pnuma Trio witched set times. Papadosio was yet another major surprise, a tripped out almost avante’ garde music collective that pumped out some highly danceable jam/trance/electronica/funk in sizable portions. The PnumaTrio was another act that impressed me with their “Do it for the fans” attitude. After missing their flight, driving straight thru, they arrived to find their gear hadn’t made it. Thanks to the generosity of the rest of the bands, the Trio was able to cobble together enough equipment to satisfy a beat hungry crowd. The jam-tronica movement has gained immensely in popularity and it amazes me that these guys aren’t at the forefront. Fat, pumping bass, swirling bleeps , bloops, and live drums and guitar make for a very happy crowd, and the Pnuma Trio had the dancers out and loving life.




Finally, after a weekend of helping others look and sound their best, Covert Operations took the stage with their secret weapon, a 14 year old drummer with Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009the proudest grandfather in the world. He didn’t miss a beat and the wild response from the crowd, though in response to the incredible tunes they were hearing, doubled as an appropriate “Thank You” for all Covert Op’s hard work. I am excited to hear more from these guys, not just fine musicians but fine people as well. My thanks should be added to the grateful crowds for a difficult job well done.





And at last I get to see Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, a band I’ve been into for a while now. I first downloaded one of their shows on name alone. I started playing the show as I was doing some house work, and quickly realized I had sat down without realizing it and was locked in rapt attention. A big, beefy sound, with soulful riffs and exemplary songwriting chops, this band is a beast. My friend Nate revealed a couple of pretty cool facts during the show as well: 1.It was his and his wife’s 1 year anniversary (Congratulations!) and 2. They had hired UV Hippo to play their wedding, and now they were seeing celebrating by seeing them again! Any band that inspires that kind of loyalty is one to watch! After the set I wandered Wuhnurth, getting spectacular shots of the night sky and the craziness run wild til I was reminded that I was at least part human and would have to get some sleep!


Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009 I have had the most amazing luck with neighbors during this year’s festival journey’s and Wuhnurth held true to form. After waking up and stretching my legs my neighbors (with the psychedelic school bus) delivered me an extra order of biscuits and gravy they had picked up in town, so I laid back down and enjoyed breakfast in bed and gathered my strength for Spunday. Euforquestra started the day off right with gelling a wide range of world music and jam sensibilities into a cohesive whole that really lifted my spirits, and got me where I needed to be. They played a track from their forthcoming album “Soup”, which was fantastic, by the way.




I was glad it was Sunday, because whenever I get to see the Chicago Farmer, it’s like going to church. In my perfect world, Chicago Farmer would live in my closet, and whenever I was feeling Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009blue I would just open the door and let his wry wit, snappy phrasings and home spun tales of life cheer me up. It’s not a perfect world however, and there are apparently laws against kidnapping and such, so I’ll just have to settle for seeing him whenever I can (and buying all his CD’s!). He writes words that speak to us all, plays his guitar with a disarming simplicity, and can make you laugh and cry with the turn of a phrase and the strum of a guitar. As someone who freely admits to being a fan of spectacle at concerts, I am always reminded of how simple and pure music can be, when I see folks like The Mighty Chicago Farmer and his friend and fellow Sunday Hill stage performer, Jaik Willis




alt Where Chicago Farmer sings with a crooked smile in his voice most times, Jaik Willis sings with such emotion and passion that I almost worry for him, physically I mean. He seems to feel the words so deeply and truly in his soul that his voice at times to come from a place miles deep within him, roaring out with such ferocity and momentum that you can’t begin to ignore him.( And buy his CD’s!) He sings of simple truths, with lyrics that startle you with their complete honesty, distilling a complex world into a cry for hope and love. Those that hear him often get frozen, eyes closed as if seeing such passion would be too much, safer just to open your ears and listen, let it all sink in and charge you to your core.



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A rousing set by The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band followed, and by big, they mean sound. A guitarist, a Washboardist and a drummer simply shouldn’t be able to make as much music as they do. A raging foot stompin’ good time feel good brand of Americana boogie. Loved what they do, yes indeedy doo. And finally after, a full weekend of musical wizardry, the stage was set, literally and metaphorically, for me to see one of my favorite musicians do what he does, as Kyle Hollingsworth and his band, the aptly named Kyle Hollingsworth Band took the stage.




Festival Family - Wuhnurth 2009 No stranger to blowing minds, Kyle Hollingsworth took the stage and opened the proceedings with a boogie organ version of Taxman and never looked back. His band was tight, and I never got the feeling I get from some “Fill in the Blank and the” Bands, as they were there as full partners, not side men. Joined briefly by Euforquestra horns and percussionist, the sound got very thick and dense. Through it all Hollingsworth wore his trademark grin, seen so many times on so many stages. And, I am happy to say that I finally got to get a good shot of him, not blocked by the keyboards and organs he plays so well, but from right over his shoulder. After snapping a few last close-ups, I went out to the hill packed away my cameras and did the only thing left to do, dance with the people. Such great music, fabulous people, and gorgeous scenery. And in these troubled economic times, the thirty dollar weekend ticket offered the best cost to jam ratio of the summer! See ya next year! - Rex Thomson


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

MC Sparkplug is Tony Z and Punky Moon Lover together. We are a couple that performs around the midwest. We're a blend of hip hop, comedy, and pieces of every other musical genre that we throw in. Our songs are about our realtionship, issues that we encounter, and fictional stories that we create. We've been called hippy hop, conscious hip hop, and unclassifiable by people who have never heard anything quite like it. We've played with bands of every type of music from bluegrass, country to rock and rap. The beats are made by Tony Z and the lyrics are written by both of us together. We have shared the stage and supported such acts as: Eoto, BoomBox, Big Gigantic, Cornmeal, Future Rock, Papadosio, Covert Operations, The Ragbirds, Roots of Creation, Vegitation, Spiritual Rez, 2 Live Crew, Groovatron, Unknown Hinson and many more. We enjoy playing at festivals and living outdoors in the summer, then rocking your local bar the rest of the year. For Booking, email us at: mcsparkplug@gmail.com