Trip Summary Calendar - Where we went and when

September 06, 2005

By the way, which one's Moe?

Last night we returned from the moe.down, a nifty music festival in central NY. moe. (all lowercase, trailing period) is "jam band" in the same genre as the Grateful Dead, Phish, and to some extent Dave Matthews Band. Alysa's known the band since college and we're good friends with some of the behind-the-scenes folks. moe.down is a gathering of moe.rons (really!) to camp out and listen to moe. and other bands every Labor Day weekend. When it comes to camping with 8,000 stoners we're a bit out of our league, so we stay at a nearby hotel, and always enjoy the weekend.

Something fun happened Saturday afternoon. Actually, two fun things happened within five minutes. I was running around taking photos (moe.down offers no shortage of fun fan shots) when I was tapped on the shoulder by a guy identifying himself as a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor. He was writing a story on the moe.down (really!) and asked for me to send any good photos his way. I don't know whether it was the fancy looking camera, the VIP badge, or just the fact I was sober that caused him to approach me. We exchanged biz cards, so I knew he was legit. I thought this was a great opportunity - I've taken plenty of photos in my day but have never seen one published. I only had my 75-300mm lens with me, and this being the only daytime moe. set this weekend I wanted to get all the variety I could.

So I started a mad dash to the car for my 17-40mm (a Canon "L" lens - it is now appropriate to "Ooh" and "Aah"). Not even to the parking lot I run into one of our behind-the-scenes friends. I won't say who, just so thousands of moe.rons don't suddenly beg for my friendship out of some inclination I'd give out the secret to all moe. knowledge. Anyway, he says "Mitch, can you do me a favor and go on-stage and take a few photos?"

Now I should interject and say being on stage with moe. isn't something very new to me, but that's usually just from the side of the stage. I'm not in awe of the band as they're just regular guys to me who happen to play great music. But the opportunity for full run of the stage with 8,000+ screaming fans staring at me made for an amazing photographic opportunity. I still needed the wide-angle lens so my mad dash turned into a full-out sprint, and minutes later I was running across the rear of the stage.

So you know where I hoped this would lead, and it has. Sometime in the next few days the Christian Science Monitor will publish a story on moe.down, accompanied by my photo! It's one of those photos that as I took it I knew I'd captured something special. I won't show it here just yet - gotta keep up the anticipation. They're actually paying me for it too, which is a nice bonus. And it's a non-exclusive license so hopefully it can be used elsewhere by moe. or other publications.

CSM, if you aren't familiar, isn't a wacky religious newspaper as its name might indicate. They're a very solid, independent publication. They used to run a great cable news channel but folded that years back.

But just to place something here, here's one photo I like a lot but isn't the one they'll be using.


I won't bother listing every band at moe.down but I'll mention one very original act. Matisyahu, a Hassidic Reggae band. Really! And you know something? Fantastic! He had the biggest crowd of any act other than moe., and really had the crowd going strong. By my untrained ears I'd classify them more as rock than reggae. The story is a regular guy was searching for something, and found it in converting to Hassidic Judaism. But with music in his blood, he put this band together. The lyrics seem more story-telling and not too preachy. The lead singer, Matisyahu (his Hebrew name after his conversion) is full-blown Hassidim. The other guys in the band aren't, at least in appearance. A picture is worth more than I can describe, so:


After a while of running around in the hot sun, he did remove his hat and jacket, and you could see he was wearing a tallis beneath his shirt. If he's doing this as a gimmick he's taking it all the way.

Sunday at the moe.down was also my birthday, and after we returned to the hotel Alysa gave me a birthday blueberry pie (complete with candle), which was a great way to end the day.

If I ever get around to posting photos from last year's moe.down you'll see the hat I wore on my birthday both last year and this year. All I will say is any where else I'd be taken to a funny farm but here I fit right in.

Posted by Mitch at September 6, 2005 05:28 PM
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