There's an interesting grammatical construct that I've only ever heard Scots use. Instead of saying "he left", for example, they'll say "that's him away." So, in that spirit: That's the Houston Celtic Festival and Highland Games finished.
This year's Houston Celtic Festival and Highland Games held a lot of meaning for me. I mentioned in a previous post that the 2005 Houston Highland Games, as it was called then, was the reason that I got interested in all this Scottish folk music stuff in the first place. The 2005 festival was the start of it all, then I went to Scotland in 2006, and started going to festivals in earnest in 2007. But like any first love, the Houston Highland Games (or its "rebranded" incarnation, the Houston Celtic Festival and Highland Games) will always be special to me. I was sad when it took a two year hiatus due to lack of volunteers and lack of funding, and was really excited when it returned this year. I was even more excited when I learned that the main stage would be in the same location as it was that first year, which is in the only totally enclosed, and, significantly, the only air conditioned part of the venue.
The festival lived up to my expectations--the music was great, and there seemed to be a reasonable number of people attending, especially considering this was the first year back after a two year break. Unfortunately, one thing I should have expected, based on prior experience with this festival, was that the weather would be horrible for at least part of the weekend, and it was. We're in a drought. Prior to the weekend of the festival, we hadn't had any significant rain in at least a couple of months. So, of course, Saturday afternoon/evening was when we had the most horrendous rain storm we've had in a long time. Houston, for anyone who might not know, has significant "drainage" (or lack of drainage) issues, which means that if it rains hard for even a short time, various places around town will start to flood. The parking lot of the venue had about ankle deep water, but the festival itself was mostly under cover and amazingly did not flood. And, not only did it rain hard for several hours, there was also a lot of lightning. At one point, they stopped running the sound system, I guess for fear there would be a lighting strike and the whole thing would get fried or blow up or something. So, we had an acoustic set with various musicians joining in, kind of like a pub session. The storm actually increased the size of the audience at the main stage, because most of the other activities had to stop because of the rain, so everyone came into this nice comfortable enclosed room for the last few hours of the festival. That was Saturday. Sunday was actually gorgeous and sunny, although unfortunately not as well-attended.
Unexpectedly, during one of the sets when Jiggernaut was playing, I was asked out on a date by a nice but extremely young guy. It was kind of a weird conversation anyway, because for the beginning of it I had earplugs in my ears (where else would you put earplugs?)--think bagpipes in a smallish room, and you'll understand why. Anyway, even after I took out the earplugs, there was a lot of "what?" and "excuse me?" because, you know, trying to talk over bagpipes (even when both parties actually want to talk, which I didn't especially) doesn't work that well. He finally cut to the chase and asked me out. I told him I was a lot older than he probably thought I was (I'm 42; he had mentioned earlier that he was 22) and that while I was flattered, it wouldn't work since I was old enough to be his mother. He shook my hand, said "Nice to meet you, ma'am", and went on his way. I've been to a lot of Celtic festivals where strange things have happened, but this was a first.
The one disappointment related to the festival is that practically since he was born, I have been waiting for my five year old nephew to be old enough to go to a Scottish festival with me, and this would have been the year...and he had no interest whatsoever in going. Oh well. I'll keep working on him and maybe I'll break him down by next year's Houston Celtic Festival and Highland Games. I really really really hope there is a next year!
I'm off to the Texas Scottish Festival this weekend. Given my track record, there's a good likelihood something blog-worthy will happen. If so, you'll know soon enough.