Driving along Main Street in town will be taboo, along with distributing bad vibes, since the only traffic happening along Main Street will be massive foot fare. After a return in 2004, the two-day affair is healthy, and if crowd sizes and overall feelings of well-being are any criteria, growing in strength. Happy (sort of) 30th!
The Festival started in 1978 ("basically as a party"), occurred again two years later, but took a hiatus until 1995. After running through 1999, the scene returned for a sun-drenched affair four years ago.
Let's face it: Most streetfests host a slew of half-baked oldies cover bands situated on flatbed trucks. Not this event; just about every conceivable style of music will be heard - and heard clearly - from the sweat of 74 bands over just a couple of afternoons. And certainly not under Kniceley's watch will classic festival muddiness be on hand: "Since every single performer has not only come to us to play, but have all volunteered their services, so each stage will have a top-tier sound guy. The least we can do is make sure those acts get as good a platform as possible."
In essence, one could go to the Fest just to hear music, maybe get a body part painted, scarf down tasty, usually locally produced grub and be more than content. But it really is a community-created and community-enhancing event. In a way, one pulls for the Festival and its example of a collective performing at the top of its game - like rooting for the Green Bay Packers. (What? The Pack is the one publicly owned team in the NFL.)
The suggested donation of a few dollars and the numerous raffle opportunities go not only to keep the event happening, but to a cause close to us all, but perhaps closest to Kniceley. His cousin, Clark Kniceley, is the co-founder, along with George Hauer, of Operation Music Aid: an effort to donate musical instruments to servicemen and -women wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served in the Army from 1972 to 1993, a veteran of the 101st Airborne and a medic who volunteered to serve in the first Gulf War. After returning home with massive headaches and undergoing over a dozen operations, he hopes that the keyboards, guitars and harmonicas that Operation Music Aid have gathered will help the wounded in their physical rehabilitation and their psychological recovery. Stay tuned for raffles during the weekend that benefit OMA.
Music begins at noon on both Saturday and Sunday, and the shuttles start service at 11:30 a.m. on both days. The last bands will end at 10 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday. The last shuttle buses will be leaving at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free, although the fine folks are asking for donations to offset costs. For more information, log onto www.rosendalestreetfestival.com.