Red Wing Roots Music Festival 2015

RedWingLogo3The kids and I had an amazing time at Red Wing Roots Music Festival this weekend. It got off to a rather rocky start but improved dramatically once we were finally settled in at our campsite.

The morning of our planned departure I received no fewer than 14 yellow jacket stings. At 6:45 am. It was awful. One of our Old-Time Scotch Collies, Kep, alerted me to something near the sheep/chicken pen, so I put on my boots and went with him to check it out. I never got my eyes on anything when suddenly I felt as though I’d been shocked by the electric netting around the sheep/chickens. It seemed like a plausible explanation because I was standing only a foot or so away in very dewey grass. I concluded that my fence was in perfect working order when, instead of finding relief by walking away, I continued to receive sting after sting. I have no idea where they came from, but they got me and Kep multiple times. Apparently, the only downside of Bogs Boots is that they trap bees. And while farming in a skirt offers great climate control {and is super cute}, the rollover waistband of the particular skirt I was wearing that morning trapped a bee inside which stung me on my hip. Ouch. Oh, and one got caught in my bra. Not awesome. I took some Advil and Zyrtec and felt “better.”

Sweet Kaya Girl
Sweet Kaya Girl

Unfortunately, the day did not improve. We had an appointment for our 13-year-old Golden Retriever, Kaya, for 8:30am for some routine-ish blood work. She had been a little “off” for a day or two, and we thought we’d take a quick peek to see if anything stood out. The veterinarian did a full physical on her, and of course the technician weighed her. The tech said she was 70 lbs. Since I had spent 1-2 hours brushing her just two days before and noticed how bony she was, I was instantly concerned. My girl has had her bouts with….fluffiness…but this was different. Farmer Tripp reminded me to ask for a urinalysis to go along with the bloodwork, and when the doctor returned to the room with the ultrasound machine in-hand, I knew something was wrong. On the screen was a 5-6 centimeter mass on my girl’s spleen. You can’t tell much else from the U/S, so he recommended going to Roanoke for a more in-depth U/S, an aspirate {where they suck up a little bit of the icky tissue to see what kind of mass it is} and radiographs. Our quick morning visit had already stretched to over an hour, but we hopped in the car and headed south. We got to the VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine Roanoke Referral Clinic around 11 am and dropped her off for an hour or so. The doctor there was in constant communication with me and with Farmer Tripp {a veterinarian as well}, and before we finished lunch our worst fears were confirmed. Kaya had cancer in her spleen, her liver, and her lungs. Suffice it to say the prognosis for a 13-yo Golden Retriever with cancer in three organs is nil. We left hoping we would have “days to weeks” with our girl. I was in shock. I was terrified. I was heartbroken. And, to make things 10 times more awkward, I had 2 full-weekend passes and a 3-day camping pass to the Red Wing Roots Music Festival. Not going meant giving up over $300 in ticket costs, not to mention letting the kids down. I thought about just staying home, but knowing we’d only be about an hour away, Farmer Tripp encouraged me to take the kids, and said he’d let me know if anything changed.

So we went. We came home and packed the truck and headed out. We were, of course, about 5 hours later than I’d hoped to be, but I figured it would be easier to get there in the dark than get the kids motivated early enough in the morning to get there before the music started at 1pm. Turns out I was right, but still….

The directions on the festival’s website were incorrect, so I lost about 30 minutes backtracking around the beautiful countryside before arriving at the gate at 9:00pm. The lovely gate attendant told me that they had stopped checking people in at 8pm. I told her I figured there would be a cutoff but since I found nothing about a cutoff on the website, had forged ahead anyway. She apologized for the “confusion” and said we could camp in the parking lot. Um, sorry, hun, but I have my two kids in this truck and we’re going to camp in the spot we paid for. “Let me see what I can do…” Fortunately, the powers that be finally decided to shine a little light down on us and we were granted entry to the park.

Setting up went about as well as setting up a tent in the pitch black with no one to help you can be, but I managed. We finally got in bed around 11pm.

We woke up bright and early and after breakfast and a few campground neighborhood introductions, made our way to the festival. For the next 3 days we enjoyed music and food and made lots of friends – even some from our hometown. The festival takes place at Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, Virginia, and aside from the amazing beauty of said natural chimneys, there’s a bold, beautiful river running through the campground that the kids {and I} got to enjoy. It was crazy, crazy hot and humid the entire time, and it rained a lot, especially overnight Friday. I didn’t think I’d mind the rain, but since I broke the tent while setting up Thursday {d’oh!}, there was a big section of not-quite-taut tent wall that collected rainwater and the floor {and sleeping bags, and pillows, and clothes} inside were soaked in the morning. I was surprised to find I was okay with that – after hanging my sleeping bag to dry under our EZ-Up shade – and kept rolling. The kids complained of the heat, and complained of being bored. In fact, I thought I would have to send them home Saturday. They wished for more toys/activities/games/whatever. Thankfully, they made some friends and ended up having a blast. They even cried when it was time to come home Sunday evening {in the rain, of course}.

Our first show of the weekend…Mandolin Orange <3
The best way to beat the heat at Red Wing
Two kids having a sweet drink on a hot day. <3
Two kids having a sweet drink on a hot day. <3
Some kind of super hero...
Some kind of super hero…
My little fashionista...
My little fashionista…
Hula Girl
Hula Girl
ENO Hammocks saved our weekend....
ENO Hammocks saved our weekend….
Momma, O, Sara, Sarah, Aoife
Momma, O, Sara, Aoife, Sarah
“You mean I can keep it??” 🙂

My favorite performances: Mandolin Orange, Sara, Sarah & Aiofe, Punch Brothers, and The Wood Brothers.

We met folks who drove from Wisconsin {17+ hours}, Canada {14+ hours}, and Chattanooga, TN {7+ hours} for the weekend. And we met folks who lived in the town of Mt. Solon and got to go home every night to a clean bed and a shower…

Having been to only one other music festival previously, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Red Wing. There were some things that definitely bugged me {bad directions, camping in a farmer’s corn field full of thistle and poison ivy, super-tight performance schedule, no musician’s workshops} and some things I really appreciated {lots and lots of families, amazing line-up, fantastic food vendors}. I heard the “premium” camping sold out in 10 minutes, so I’ll definitely try to get a site next year, but will probably settle for Z-Lot again, and see how the 2nd time goes. I’ll also be keeping an eye out for a pickup truck camper, travel trailer, pop-up or camper van so we can stay a little drier…maybe.



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2 thoughts on “Red Wing Roots Music Festival 2015

  1. So sorry to hear about your dog, Rebeccah. So delighted to read about the music festival and LOVE your picture with the two Sara(h)s and Aoife. Wish I were going to hear them perform, but they’re nowhere I’m going to be. (I guess this means we won’t see you at Greyfox this weekend. . .)

    Sending prayers and light for your beautiful old girl, Kaya. I hope her passing is pain free and serene and that you and your family are blessed with quality time with her from here on out. Much love.

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