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Best ways to enjoy folk fest

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For the 12th year, the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association brought a wonderful, eclectic day of folk and bluegrass to the mountains of Utah.

Last Sunday, the Founders Title Company Folk and Bluegrass Festival brought such artists as Danny Donnelly, the Prairie Dogs, Erica Wheeler, the Blade Runners, Lucy Kaplansky, Lost Highway, Martin Sexton and Seldom Scene to Deer Valley and took festivalgoers on a magic carpet ride that started about 10 a.m. and didn't land until well into the night.

It was wonderful . . . until a group of loud, obnoxious women sat right behind me and my date.

We've all experienced it. You find a nice comfortable seat with a great view of the stage only to be disturbed by loud, drunk concertgoers who would rather talk about work, sex and beer than watch the performance.

And they wonder why they don't get any respect from their co-workers.

Anyway, for you veterans and first-timers who want to enjoy the music at the Folk and Bluegrass Festival next year, here are a few tips:

First, if you want to hear the music, find an area in front of the center of the stage, in the middle of the audience. Don't sit near the walkways or on the outer rim. And don't ever, ever sit in the shade of the garbage cans. That's where the less serious fans are. The ones who will sit and chat through the most dynamic sets, complaining about everything from the heat to their roommate's toothbrush. I still don't understand why people pay money to get into a show and then miss it completely because of their own loud, obnoxious conversations.

Second, bring some sunscreen. This year the mercury rose to about 95°. And though some small clouds did pass by the sun a few times, many a scalp got fried. And since the audience had to face north to see the stage, which was set up at the bottom of the mountain, I'm sure a majority of the fans got half their faces burned. (Think Richard Dreyfuss in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind.")

Third, bring hats or umbrellas. These practical accessories will help shade you from the burning brutal rays of le Soleil.

Fourth, wear shoes or sandals that can easily be slipped off while you sit and listen to the bands. Remember, it's an all-day event and you will, eventually, have to find your way to the restrooms. While you're waiting in line or actually standing on the tile, you will soon come to realize that shoes are a very wonderful and sanitary invention.

Fifth, bring a cooler with a lot of water, sports drinks or juice. Dehydration is a bad, bad thing.

Sixth, try to stay away from alcohol. You don't want to become those loud and obnoxious people complaining about their roommate's toothbrush.

Seventh, if you enjoy the artists who are at the festival, bring a couple of their CDs. Some of the singers and songwriters roam the hillside after their sets and they don't seem to mind signing autographs.

Eighth, bring a book or hand-held video game. These will help pass time during the sets you don't find enjoyable.

Ninth, take some food or money. It's a 12-hour plus event. And, unless you're on an unhealthy diet of dust, grass and weeds, you will need to eat something. Oscar Meyer Lunchables are perfect; they even offer cheese pizzas for you non-meat-lover types.

Tenth, kick back and relax. There's nothing like lying back, looking at the wide blue sky and hearing Lost Highway singing about the similarities between a former flame and a praying mantis.


E-MAIL: scott@desnews.com