I'm kicking back at one of the Countdown to CukoRakko events at Cahaba Brewing, digging the band, watching Raymoon Vob spontaneously paint as people pass by him and check out what he's doing. I'm kicking back a really good beer with a content grin on my face when Jamie Glass, one of the founders and coordinators of CukoRakko comes and sits down beside me. He is a really friendly, positive guy.
|Painting by Raymoon Vob|
We talk about how things are going, how everything is being organized. Jamie discusses some of his plans for CukoRakko, always thinking about how he can tweak things, but realizing what they have is already awesome. Little things, move a food truck here, place a vendor there, Jamie's mind is always hovering over things like any good host would do, promoting, planning and perfecting. But it's a relaxed perfection. There's a constant understanding that when you provide the basic structure, with an energy and a vision, certain things grow, the direction is organic. It needs only slight guidance.
For instance, this is the point where he leans in to me, looks me in the eye and says, with a slight, wry smile "y'know...it's one word."
Of course, I'm sort of mesmerized by everything going on around me, enjoying the band, listening to Jamie express his vision of CukoRakko, watching people dance, uh...drinking my awesome beer. So it takes a second for me to register that he is saying something to which I might need to actually respond.
In my unique and articulate way I say "Huh?"
"Oh shit!" I say... "Damn, I wrote it as two words?"
"Yeah," he says..."But don't sweat it. I love what you wrote. I just thought I should mention, y'know, well it is our name." He smiles a really big harmless smile and pats me on the shoulder. You have to know Jamie. He and Greg have put their hearts and souls into CukoRakko. And their hearts and souls are good. Everything they're working on is about good stuff, good connections, good vibes.
"I'll fix that tonight." I say.
"Hey man. I'm just thankful for all the attention the festival is getting. I just..." Someone walks up beside him at this point and mentions something that needs some tweaking. In a perfectly non-offensive way Jamie Glass drifts away from me to attend to his baby, CukoRakko...one word.
So, let me just lay that one here for anyone who might have been confused. I am probably the only one. And it might be due to my age, or my frequent moments of enjoyment like the one I am currently experiencing, but for the meaning of the WORD CukoRakko, click this link: http://birminghammusicnews.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-secrets-of-cukorakko.html (which has since been edited to reflect the Oneness of the word)
The band takes a break, and I wander outside for a minute where I find Greg Entrekin, another of the awesome founders of CukoRakko (one word). He and I brag on the band who has just played their first set, about a few things related to, I think parking, and pictures, and just goof talking between sets of the band. We go over some of the bands that will be at this Fall's CukoRakko, talk about which beer we're currently drinking...we both look around at the crowd, pleased by the scene. I laugh and mention I had written CukoRakko as two words in an earlier piece. Greg smiles at me. I don't get the impression, however, that he even gives what I just said another thought. He's focused on the band here tonight, on the bands that will play CukoRakko, on the crowd. His excitement about what is happening that night, what is coming at CukoRakko is infectious. My momentary self involvement is whisked away. We start back into talking about who will be playing at the festival and a few other things. We talk a lot actually, between songs and over beers.
Watching Jamie and Greg organize their festival is fun and interesting. They don't relate to each other like a bromance or anything. They're obviously tight, close friends. But they are also like attentive, proud parents. You can always tell when two people work together well. They each hover about, constantly aware, but at a relaxed level of enjoyment. It's something sustainable. It's part of the family feeling CukoRakko has. Although Jamie and Greg spearhead this thing, you can tell by the way they both talk that their wives are supportive too, and play an integral part in the events. This is so crucial to the overall positive feeling of things. You just get a sense for a happy family.
By extension, if you are attending the festivals, or any of their events, you become part of the family. That's a good thing. So here are a few things you need to know when you become part of the family. Of course, first of all, you are loved. This is actually sincere. Don't forget it.
Now, I'll briefly go over some very important points. But do not allow my brevity to create the mistaken idea that any of these things are not important.
CukoRakko is set in a privately owned nature park located in Steele Alabama. The grounds, Horse Pens 40, are magnificent, full of trails and rock formations and beautiful scenery. There are showers, an affordable restaurant, plentiful campsites with electricity if desired (for a small fee). The campground is clean, the bathrooms are numerous. All of this needs to stay this way! If you are one of the lucky souls who gets to attend CukoRakko, please do your best to respect the property, don't go dragging limbs and logs out of the woods to build a fire. Ask where firewood can be obtained. Only build fires where there is a preexisting fire pit, or ring. And PLEASE do not bring glass containers. Cleaning up accidentally broken glass is a nightmare, glass is dangerous to feet.
Don't litter, of course. This doesn't seem to be a problem do to the nature of the crowd. But still needs mentioning.
Don't bring your pets (service animals only).
Relax. Music and people will be everywhere, people hula hooping, playing drums, playing guitar, etc.
Drama: If you are the kind of person/people who instigate or bring drama with you, please do not even come to CukoRakko. If you need healing, it's the place to be. If you need helping, come in, free your mind from your troubles, let them go into the drum circle, into the yoga, let the vibrations of the music chew them up. But sorry to say, if you are into, or create drama, disruptions or conflict, you will be escorted from the premises. It's a music festival. People come to it to get away from that.
There is a designated family area. Warning: things are just as fun in the family area! People are just a little more attentive to not stepping on little fingers, and the noise levels are toned down just a little bit very late at night. But due to the nature of a music festival, there is rarely absolute silence. If you bring your children, which the festival encourages, please supervise them.
You may bring food and drink, or buy food and drink from one of the awesome vendors. A combination is probably best. Whatever you bring, please remember it should be in cans or anything but glass. Same for coffee, etc.
Make sure you understand the fee structure. If you are a volunteer, check with Jamie or Greg to see how the camping portion of your pass is covered. Parking is limited within the festival grounds. Check the website for the different parking options. (see link)
There are multiple activities, many artists, lots of cool things to do, drum circles, smelting, yoga, and bands. Yes, that's where I've been walking us to this whole time actually...the bands.
The bands are a, if not the, centerpiece of the festival. Playing will occur randomly throughout space and time during the festival, but the main stage is located in the natural amphitheater, backed by glorious natural boulder formations providing a unique and excellent concert experience. The slightly sloped ground leading down to the stage provides for perfect seating, or dancing, or laying there, smiling and listening. Just however you choose to enjoy the main stage area...uh...within reason. There are families and this festival will tolerate no out of control folks. If you aren't messing up other people's experience, you are most likely doing just fine.
Here is the band schedule:
If you need to know more about any of the bands simply click on the name and it will direct you to more information.
Elijah Butler Band 7:30-8:30
Blue Moon Soup 9:00-10:00
Sidewalk Chalk 10:15-11:15
Downright Superjam 12:45-1:00
(See Youtube Playlist of Friday's bands)
Tragic City 11:00-12:15
Mandi Rae 12:45-2:00
Pyrite Parachute 4:30-5:45
Festival Expressions 6:30-7:45
Little Raine Band 8:00-9:15
Winston Ramble 9:45-11:00
The Doctors and The Lawyers 11:30/12:45
(See Youtube Playlist of Saturday's Bands)
Grateful Gospel Jamboree with Bluegrass Gospel music from Atlanta's Control Burn 11:00-12:15
Freekbass 12:30 – 2:00
Jess Goggans Band 2:30-3:30
Col. Bruce Hampton and the Madrid Express Featuring Carter Herring 4:00-5:30
The Yo Yo PAH! Harkestra. 5:30-6:30
Plus DJs and more TBA....
(See Youtube Playlist of Sunday's Bands)
If you have yet to obtain your tickets, go to this link, http://www.cukorakko.com/purchase-tickets-festival/ use the code "freepressmusic" to obtain your 15% discount. And enjoy.