Letter To The People - August 2014

Publisher's Commentary
by Rökker

Rökker with gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke backstage at AtwoodFest 2014 in Madison - photo by Allison Rocker

Rökker with gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke backstage at AtwoodFest 2014 in Madison
photo by Allison Rocker

AtwoodFest 2014: By all accounts AtwoodFest 2014 was an “out of the park” success. Both stages were amazingly packed and very well attended at every other time of the day. I heard positive feedback on almost every facet of the new festival from the new staging (thank you Intellasound) to the placement in Monty’s Blueplate parking lot and in front of Tex Tubb’s on Atwood, to the greater selection of food and vendors (thanx Gary Kalas/Wil-Mar Center), not too mention the Kid’s Stage!

The music lineup was mentioned in almost every comment and special thanx go to our entertainment crew including Steve & Zach at the Barrymore, Dan Stoffels, Jimmy K, Jacob Hoang, Joshua Schmook, Brian McKay and Madison Media Institute interns Ian Mahone, Robert Horne, and Brittany Derr. They all kicked some serious butt getting over 110 musicians on and off the stages.

And most special thanx to my mom & dad (Michelle & Jerry) who are crucial to the backstage hospitality for bands. Her Famous pasta and meatballs fed all the afore mentioned musicians plus a ton of crew and personnel. I think it was around 600 meatballs. A side thanx to Banzo and Jamerica who also helped with vegan plates.

Not to be left out is Kevin and the staff at Monty’s Blueplate who really stepped up to the plate to assist us during insanity that took over their parking lot. I knew we had moved our stage to the right place when I showed up in the morning and the Intellasound guys had a pitcher of Monty’s special coffee blend. Monty’s assistance to our backstage and use of their facility was a tremendous help to us.

Ben Anton needs special mention as his efforts in organization and sponsorship were so crucial in saving the festival.

Another special thanx to the local celebs that showed up to introduce bands including Pat Gallagher, Bridget Maniaci, Teri Barr, Dannika Lewis, Dave Leucinger, Sal Serio, Marsha Rummel, Ledell Zellars, Rick Tvedt, Gabby Parsons, Jimmy K, Eric Stimson, and Vanessa Anderson who performed a Superbowl version of the National Anthem before the two mainstage headliners on Saturday and Sunday.

And to all 110 musicians, you rocked! I can’t name you all!

There were also a few interesting side stories.

Sonny Knight and the Lakers got stuck in NASCAR traffic coming from Cincinnati. They called and told us they were a little behind, leaving us with an unplanned gap to fill. We called up She She (Julia McConahay and Dana Perry) and said “Can you be here in a half hour and play our stage until the next band gets here?”. They were on stage and plugged in before you could say Sonny Knight and the Lakers who showed up, played an stellar set and amazingly were off stage in time for Steely Dane to take the stage on their scheduled time. Wow, sometimes it flows!

Gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke happened to show up to catch VO5 in action. As I was on the stairs up the stage overlooking the crowd the band announced they were going to take a quick bathroom break after the next song during their 2 hour set. As the words were hitting the audience (people as far as you could see) I saw Mary boogie-ing in the crowd. I got her attention, waved her back stage and asked if she would like to take up a few minutes of time while VO5 was on break. She didn’t have anything planned, but said “sure.” She had a great mini-speech and was treated to much cheering. To any naysayers who might have felt grumpy I will tell you, had the Governor showed up I surely would have afforded him equal time!

Adventures with Lizzie and Nikko: Summer camp is ending for Nikko and Lizzie has Poms starting up later this month as football season gets underway. Are you ready for some football? go Madison East Purgolders.

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