Here is an excerpt from my Comfest article that will be published at cringe.com:
It was still light out but Saturday night was over at the Main/Bozo Stage. That felt really strange. I headed over to the Gazebo for the Thatcher Ely memorial service. I knew Thatcher as the Iron Man at the Gazebo Stage. Like a mother hen, he always took care of the Entertainment Committee’s tee shirts and doled them out to the stage heads. After taking over Scottie McBeans, he became Mr. Coffee Roaster and he always smelled of the various coffee flavors. I particularly remember the hazelnut odor that would emanate from him. He was a hard worker and generous with whatever he had to share. Yeah, he was a character who would drive me crazy at times but you knew he was a guy who would always have your back and that’s important when you’re on the Comfest team.
The service behind the Gazebo at the glittering pond’s edge was very beautiful. Two of the most popular performers he took care of at the Gazebo, Megan Palmer and Donna Mogavero, played guitar and sang. And then, as Candy started to speak, a huge bolt of lightning crashed from the sky. A storm was on its way as ghostly breezes swept around us. The speakers bravely continued and, just as Thatcher’s ashes were being spread on the lawn, the raindrops began to fall. I left and made my way over to the Clean Up and Recycling Headquarters to begin my volunteer shift.
Doing the Saturday night Clean Up shift had been my way of trying live up to my personal Comfest mottoes, “Don’t ask anyone to do anything you’re not willing to do.” and its variant, “If you want something done, do it yourself.” I had done just about every other type of job at Comfest but I had fastidiously avoided Clean Up. And Lord knows, I didn’t want to work on a Comfest Saturday night. In the old days, that was the big party night where a hundred or more people would gather at the Maneri/Dougan/Scheiber house on Norwich and, among other things, drink kegs of beer and get crazy. But as the wild parties faded out and my Comfest fervor evolved to new heights two years ago, I jumped in and discovered the joy of walking behind a garbage truck at 2 AM alongside a grimly determined army of 20 or so strangers slinging plastic bags of leaking, disgusting trash into the compactor that would occasionally cause the bags to explode and spew garbage juice all over you. As far as Comfest experiences go, it’s hard to beat the feeling of camaraderie I feel with these anonymous volunteers who come from many different backgrounds in every size, age, sex and color.
This year, my favorite Comfest moment was working at headquarters and watching all the people coming up and volunteering to help clean up the park as the lightning cracked and the rain poured down in the darkness of night. That is what Comfest is all about. Fortunately, there are still some small Saturday night parties that go real late and at the end of my shift I was able to drag my aching body over to a friend’s house in the Short North and dump it in a hot tub occupied by three beautiful women. Ah, the Agony and the Ecstasy of Comfest.
Thursday, tonight, Derek DiCenzo does his annual Bastille Day celebration of all things that sound French at Dick's. C'est tres manifique!
Friday, Trains Across the Sea do the happy hour at The Shrunken Head and The Mendelsonics do the happy hour at Rumba. Later, Skully's hosts The Main Street Gospel's CD release with Mount Carmel.
Saturday, Madlab holds the Volatility Festival at its new location, 227 N. Third St., from 3 to 11:30 with, among others, Woosley, Ghost Shirt, The Bush League All-Stars, Bookmobile and Earwig. Jim Maneri and Joe Blow are Dick's, Kobo has Town Monster and Vug Arakas & the Stallions, The Alwood Sisters and Moon High are at Rumba, Miller Kelton is at The Shrunken Head and the Surf Ohio Beach Party hangs ten at Woodlands Tavern with Miss Molly, Jim Volk, Apocalypso and more. I may head down to Athens for Brewfest and The Lennon Orchestra at Jackie O's.
Sunday, The Goodale Park Sunday music series at the Gazebo features The Mooncussers.
Aux armes, citoyens. Formez vos batailions. Marchons, marchons! mark