Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Bedford Working Waterfront Festival -- Part 1

Music, fisher poets, Coast Guard assets, boats, books ...
Working Waterfront Festival

That's almost a haiku.

This is the 9th year of New Bedford Working Waterfront Festival. I don't remember if we went to the first one, but we've certainly made a habit of attending over those years.  This year's seemed a little smaller to me than some of the previous ones, but the festival organizers say the attendance was about the same -- excellent despite the gray weather. 

Actually, I think you can travel globally without leaving New Bedford at this festival.
The rain held off on Saturday but the skies were quite gray and it was definitely cold. Fortunately we had our sweatshirts from previous years' festivals. We timed our arrival for the Something Fishy fisherpoetry session featuring Bob Quinn, Dawn Clifton-Tripp, Charlotte Enoksen, Dave Densmore, Jon Campbell, Mary Garvey, and Moe Bowstern on the Steamship Stage at noon. On the shuttle from the garage to the pier, we met a couple from Newport whose daughter does some of the graphic design for Moe Bowstern's zine. They'd never been to the festival before. They came specifically to hear Moe. We told them we're huge fans of Moe's work.

Moe Bowstern
We parked ourselves at the Steamship Stage as it turned out that all the performers we specifically wanted to see on Saturday were scheduled there.  Old favorites Moe Bowstern, Dave Densmore, and Bob Quinn lived up to expectations. 

Dave Densmore
Bob Quinn reading Fog

Novelist Dawn Clifton-Tripp was new to us. Don't know how we've missed her. The passages she read from her novels were so vivid and evocative of southeastern Massachusetts that I could picture her characters in the coastal landscape. 

Dawn Clifton-Tripp

Jon Campbell, who
led the Something Fishy session, was up next with a set of his songs. I had promised myself I wouldn't ask for the Ballad of the Beth Noel if he took requests, but I did, and he gamely tried it but forgot a lot of the words -- it does have a lot of words. It's not something he performs often.

Jon Campbell
One of our three favorite Providence bands, Sharks Come Cruisin' , did a wonderful show at 2:00PM. We first discovered them at the Working Waterfront Festival a few years ago. They rock traditional songs. "Sea shanty punk" is one phrase often used to describe them. Their rendition of Spanish Ladies, their signature tune, totally rocked the tent.

Sharks Come Cruisin'

Two more poetry/narrative/story panel sessions followed: 

  • Regulate My Life Away with Moe Bowstern, Jon Campbell, Dave Densmore, and Dave Dutra, which dealt with the impact of regulation on the lives of the fishermen 
  • Storms and Close Calls with Abigail Calkin, Dave Densmore, Cindy Follet-Gildemond and I forget who else, which was riveting with stories of near fatal injuries, collisions at sea, and a riveting survival story about a captain who gets caught in the lines when he tries to rescue a trapped deckhand.

Model Boats
When we were checking out the model boats, Nancy got talking with the translator for the Portuguese model maker. She turned out to be Ana and Jose Vinagre's daughter so they got talking about fado while I wandered among the tiny boats.
The farmer's market had lots of gorgeous produce and I could not resist buying us some juicy local peaches.

At one point I spotted Barney Frank waiting for Elizabeth Warren to arrive, so I wandered over to say hi (he and Mom go way back). I missed meeting Elizabeth Warren, but she was all over the festival for an hour or more. Cafe Arpeggio had good coffee and scones (pumpkin, blueberry, and cranberry -- all local fruit).

We saw the mini tugs and decided that Sunday's agenda had to include finding out what they're all about.

Mini Tugs Atlantic Hunter and Toot Toot
We talked with the Ernestina people, gawked at the Coast Guard vessels, and thoroughly browsed the book tent before we called it a day.

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