Bike // Film // Music // Camp // Food // Dance
This weekend we biked 70 miles round-trip from my Minneapolis apartment to Stillwater, WI for Square Lake Music and Film Festival. With no idea what to expect, Saturday morning we loaded up our bikes and backpacks with the minimum number of things for a one night adventure — tent, cut-off jeans from him, and a flowy dress and cowboy boots for her.
The festival was celebrating it’s tenth year. Originally it had been founded as an objection to large, overpacked and overwhelming music festivals. Influenced by European-style music festivals, we found ourselves on a sleeping bag, on a hill, less than fifteen feet from the performance stage (just like everyone else who attended). The intimate atmosphere makes me think there’s no better way to see a performance. Square Lake’s festival grounds are, the other 364 days of the year, a backyard.
One of my favorite performances [and some of the lamest jokes] came from the band Night Moves — an emerging presence in the Twin Cities music scene. Without a set list, but plenty of stage small-talk to fill the gaps between songs, Night Moves ignited the stage. Maybe you’ll recognize their song, “Horses,” in The Current’s studio performance. Their full-length cd, “Colored Emotions,” has a release date of October 9. You can read more about them and their upcoming cd, the track list and more on The Current’s blog here.
I think, if I was forced to pick one favorite event for the night, it would be that by International Novelty Gamelan. I had never heard of this group before the Square Lake Festival, but this group left the entire crowd in awe. They even received a standing ovation from some. A giant screen was lifted just before their performance in which on old-style animation “Achmed” was shown. The band filled the stage, all sitting, and played a 50 minute piece accompanying and in-time with the film. I can’t decide if I liked the film or the song more, but the combination of both, together, live was something spectacular. You can listen to some of their music that accompanied the film here.
After a music and film filled afternoon, the night ended with a trance-like dance party in the barn. Despite the cloud cover, I’m pretty sure the stars came out that night. I didn’t see them. I could feel them through the rain guard on my tent. Sometimes, you just know.