February 9, 2019, Chandler, AZ-
After my satisfying Saturday morning routine, I headed down here, to this bustling eastern suburb of Phoenix, to take in several hours of Arizona Roots, a music and art festival that smashes the monotony of winter in the desert. I was clued to this event by one of my friends from last Fall’s Convergence at Arcosanti.
I didn’t find her there, but I did find the sort of atmosphere that I experienced at Convergence, albeit a loving atmosphere, writ large. Instead of dozens of gentle souls crammed into a room, there were several hundred crammed into the area in front of the Main Stage.
There were artisan ensembles, like The Clint Stevens Band, just getting together and having some laid-back fun. Then, there was the mix of serious message and hakuna matata, from J-Boog and Rebelution, who did the Main Stage proud, while I was in its midst.
Although everyone there was a “total stranger” to me, it was easy to revert to Convergence dance form, and alternately bounce up and down, sway back and forth, and flash the Hawaiian thumb and pinky greeting at Jarell, whilst he was leading J-Boog, in a feisty 55-minute set of heartfelt reggae.
Here is one of their signature songs, about a lovely Hawaiian lady who makes J’s heart sing.
I felt none of the awkward “Really, old dude” self-talk that made me feel, initially, like a duck out of water, at Convergence. It helped to remember what a great time I had there, after letting that pointless crap go. So, I enjoyed 3 1/2 hours of “anonymous camaraderie”, that evokes what I probably missed at the great music festivals of the ’60’s and ’70’s. I had a lovely time, without any recreationally-enhancing substances. To be sure, these were flowing, and wafting, quite freely. I’m goofy enough on my own, and remember what a horror show I was, as a drunk and as a stoner, before 1981, and sobriety. Here is the scene, as J-Boog worked their magic.
As I was entering the grounds, Rebelution was in mid-set. The mid-afternoon crowd wasn’t quite revved up, as yet.
Next time, I know to check for Early-Bird ticket prices, in mid-November. A scalper, in the parking lot, offered me a “two-days for one” deal, which showed desperation. I did not have any intention of sharing my PI with him, or anyone else on the street, and I have other commitments for tomorrow, so I passed. I hope to make it for both days, a year from now, as these sorts of gatherings are good for my soul-and this is, for good measure, the largest such event I have attended, without being spooked. I’d say that’s a very good sign.