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the book is occupied with the Kerrville 1982-impressive: performers, playlists, guests, and photos enough to please anyone who has ever endured an early summer rain, waited in line for the porta-potty, lost a night’s sleep hanging around Camp Cuisine, or greeted the day with weak coffee at the Kerrville General Store. These are the events that the true Kerrvert lives for, the once-a-year \(okay, recently twice-a-year since the introduction of the shorter Labor that reminds the weary old aging hippie bones that yes, we can do it again, we can don our tie-dyes and slog two hours out to a cow pasture in Kerr County and endure, if not hardship, then at least mild discomfort -to hear Peter Yarrow sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” or bake in the sun at the New Folk or take our kids \(or our kids’ clown around on the Threadgill stage. All but the most die-hard Kerrvert will, however, find something lacking in this meticulous chronicle of the Kerrville years. While there is much here to enjoy, what is lacking, what we’d like more of, are good stories anecdotes about the many performers who wandered through Kerrville. Everyone’s got at least five great Kerrville stories \(like the time I watched across the campfire as an impishly intoxicated Bill Morrissey bit the end of another singer’s Moreover, there is a deeper ground to plow with the Kerrville Folk Festival, questions raised by Kennedy’s narrative which he never adequately addresses, or even, it sometimes seems, never occur to him. Why of all his promotions all of which he seems to have enjoyed equally did he settle on the Kerrville Folk Festival? Why has the festival suffered such finan cial turmoil, especially in recent years? Why was the Festival never able to make it to the next level of prestige enjoyed by such gatherings as the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Vancouver Folk Festival, or Telluride? Why has Kennedy insisted on maintaining an eighteen-day festival even adding a new fall event during the 1990s when a shorter, more focused fes tival could have heightened attendance A Nanci Griffith, Kerrville, 1985 while cutting overhead? Why do some acts only play Kerrville on their way up \(Michelle Shocked in the 1980s and Ani These questions don’t much concern the die-hard Kerrvert, and perhaps they shouldn’t concern the rest of. us either. After all, Kennedy has delivered year in and year out for the last twenty-seven years one of the most notable folk music events in the country. He has supported and developed artists in Texas and nationally who have repaid music-lovers in spades while remaining loyal to their Kerrville audiences: singer-songwriters like Tish Hinojosa, Christine Albert, and Butch Hancock; virtuoso musicians like Erik Hokkanen; and off-the-wall acts like Caf Noir and the Billies. And lest we forget, Kennedy has perpetuated one of the most significant folk music seeding projects in the country: the New Folk competition, in which singersongwriter wannabes are given two songs to prove their stuff. New Folk has provided early perhaps the first recognition of many notable stars, including Nanci Griffith, John Gorka, John Ims, Robert Earl Keen, Lucinda Williams, and Tom Russell. Come to think of it, this book is very much like the Kerrville Folk Festival itself: Lee Hisle it goes on a bit too long, tries to cram too much in, suffers from an overreaching eclecticism, misunderstands itself, and puts its creator too much in the spotlight. On the other hand, like Kerrville, this book gives us a chronicle and history, a thing of some considerable value that is both entertaining and enlightening, at some level a socially responsible action that endures and ultimately wins both in spite of and because of the restless and passionate determination of its chief creative talent, Rod Kennedy. Mark Smith has lived in Austin since the Austin Music Scene was just a gleam in Willie Nelson’s eye. ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 512-453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25 4 _t -Aor -*two NOVEMBER 6, 1998 ….mmes011111.0111111001101111.111110F. 4111111111111111101.0111111111111111110111111111111111111110wv,