Everyone's a winner: local music at the Fair
Just before the sun begins to set at the Agricultural Fair, beneath the yellow and white striped tent, the microphones hum. Local talent is about to take the stage.
Island musicians form a tight-knit group, shifting from solo performers to teaming up with each other in various configurations. They are friends who recognize and support each other, and make beautiful music together.
Saturday night, and the sounds of native Adam Howell and his guitar rise above the bell of the water-gun races, the top 40 hits blaring from the Sizzler, and the din of crowds. In dusty jeans and a T- shirt, Mr. Howell stands center stage and sets the mood for the late summer evening. He sings of being in the pines and reminds us of the close of summer when, "the north wind blows," and the fairgoers seem to quiet as Mr. Howell sings.
Regional high school graduate May Oskan joins him and harmonizes while a kaleidoscope of Islanders and visitors listen, some staying fixed, others leaving and coming back again.
The sun sets, the sweatshirts go on, and The Rosehips, year-round Island residents on upright bass, drums, two guitars, and vocals take the stage. After their first song, Lorna Ashe, Rosehips vocalist and guitarist, asks the crowd, "How about we bring the whole thing up?" The audience bellows, "Yes!" and soundman Vineyard native, Casey Decker, turns all levels to high. Many who were sitting are up on their feet attempting a Texas-two-step.
Ms. Ashe says, "My favorite part is that this is for all age groups."
Toddlers are set on the ground to teeter to the beat. Young and old sing the blues.
Island favorites Jemima James and Willy Mason, mother and son, also contribute to the night of local music. The home-grown group Chorus of Arrows, made up of Nina Violet, Colin Ruel, Matthew Cullen, and Sam Mason, fill the listeners' desire for layered instrumental indie-folk-rock. Their electric tunes reach to the parking lot and set off some long-range foot tapping.
None of the performers seem intimidated by the rotating crowd or the noise. They seem fed by the sensory smorgasbord that is the Ag Fair. Ms. Ashe notes, "All the lights and festivities, its just the greatest. People have the choice of walking through. I think it's a great addition to the Fair."
Music at the Fair provides real entertainment, a true showcase of varying local acts of all sizes, mood, and genre. Everyone's a winner.