I have said this before but I’ll say it again: Nome may be a small town but there is always something going on. If you are motivated and passionate enough about a cause, there is usually an army of Nomeite volunteers willing to help you in your endeavors. In this week’s case, I am talking of course about the Nome Midnight Sun Folk Festival sponsored by the Nome Arts Council and organized by none other than KNOM’s Laura Collins.
Nome Folk Fest is an opportunity to listen to bands that wouldn’t normally tour through this corner of the world as well as a chance to take in all the local talent—your grocery store clerk, mailman, coach, teacher, neighbor, friend, or family member, who just happens to rock a musical instrument or five. I honestly believe that the amount of talent in this town is disproportional to its size, and I mean this in a good way. If you are a writer, musician or artist, this is definitely an off-the-beaten-path destination for you to consider.
This year’s main stage featured band was the David Wax Museum. Rocking a jarana, donkey jaw bone, fiddle, accordion, and a mysterious percussion box that I intend to reconstruct for myself some day, all I could do while listening to these guys’ addictive Mexo-Americana rhythms was picture my mother stomping her foot saying something like, Yeah. they’re all right for a group of gringos. (Coming from her, that’s a compliment). DWM were great I’m-up-for-anything kind of folk, willing to get in the back of a pick up truck for Nome’s summer solstice parade, or dive into the frigid Bering Sea waters for our annual Polar Bear swim. A highlight of my weekend was the opportunity to share the stage with them and other community musicians for an encore of “Goodnight, Irene.”
I’ve written before about my incredibly paralyzing stage fright, ironic considering my background in vocal performance and improv theatre, not to mention my current position as a DJ and co-host of The Morning Show. But it’s different to be behind the microphone when no one can see you.
I prefer to work as a producer behind the scenes. I enjoy writing for radio and playing hermit away from large crowds. But I can’t do that forever. We don’t grow as individuals without pushing our own boundaries. So here we go:
I acted as stage manager for the second half of the festival and performed a short set with my fellow KNOM volunteers towards the end. I wouldn’t have gotten through with it if it wasn’t for the support of friends. So thank you. Thank you to everyone who attended, who performed, who volunteered, who sold t-shirts, chased kids out of the back stage area and everything in between. This kind of community support is what I love most about Nome and what prompted me to sign up for a second volunteer year with KNOM. So thank you.