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Beacon Sloop Club Strawberry Festival and Jim Connor

Posted by hielandman on Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On Sunday, June 12th, I performed with Jack Driscoll for the Beacon Sloop Clubs annual Strawberry Festival, at the Beacon Waterfront Park, on the shores of the mighty Hudson River in Beacon New York, home of Pete Seeger, one of America's greatest citizens!(and the founder of the sloop club)  They (the sloop club) put on four different festivals during the course of the year, starting with the Strawberry Festival, then in August the Corn Festival, followed by the Alternate Energy Festival in September, and in October they have their Pumpkin Festival.   These festivals are free, fun, and family friendly, and there is always live music,  drawing diverse acts from around the country, mostly acoustic, always great.......!!!The purpose of the Beacon Sloop Club is to promote and protect the Hudson River as a great resource, and they are doing a great job.  The park where the Strawberry Festival is held was once a landfill/dump, and it was rejuvenated by the club.  It is a really great place for a festival.....

Every year, at these festivals, I get to see and hear different people's music, from all around the country.   For the last eight years I have been fortunate enough to be invited to play at one of the festivals or other, and it is a real honor to be on the same bill as Pete Seeger, Spook Handy, Dan Einbender, and all the really wonderful musicians they have perform at the events.  Last week, when coming off the stage(read HILL!) I was approached by a fellow named Ace Bowers, who was a relative of Jane Bowers, the late song writer....he complimented us on our set, and then proceeded to introduce me to a man he said was in the Kingston Trio, and that his name was Jim Connor.  I wasn't familiar with that name.  He said the dates that he played with them, and I said that John Stewart was with them until '67 or  '68, and then I was told that he was John Stewart's replacement, staying about five years.  This was cool!!  Then, it got even cooler!!  I was then informed that Mr. Connor was the author of the song "Grandma's Feather Bed", made famous by John Denver!  I hadn't known that, I thought that John D. wrote it.... The best part was, was that Jim Connor drove all the way up from the Richmond Virginia area to play one set, and he was great, really great...!!!  He was very, very funny, a great singer and story teller, and, an AMAZING BANJO PLAYER!!!  And, on top of all that, he was a very warm, caring, and decent, down to earth man...He was also John Denver's banjo player for a long time, and I saw him in 1976 at the Nassau Coliseum, in Long Island, NY, though I didn't know it at the time.

After his set, we hung out together for the rest of the afternoon, his wife Cindy and my Girlfriend Jeannie hitting it off rather well....(long suffering banjo player's women!!)  We also met and made friends with a guy named Don Park, who plays with Jim(on guitar), and specializes in Kingston Trio and John Denver work!  He happens to be the guy who wrote the book "The Forty Years of the Kingston Trio", of which he gave a copy to Pete Seeger, and one to me!  We jammed for a long time, and he is a great singer and guitar player(he would have to be to play with Jim!), and really fun to hang out with, besides being an overall nice guy!  Check them out, and check out the pictures I am posting today....thanks for you time, take care, Don

1 comment on “Beacon Sloop Club Strawberry Festival and Jim Connor”

hielandman Says:
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 @2:36:55 PM

check them out here:

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