By Steven Graham
I walked away from Doe Bay Fest 2012 with several amazing memories and favorite moments. Motopony lead singer Daniel Blue was involved in many of them.
Whether it was when Motopony rocked my eardrums out of my head when they played in the yoga studio, or when Daniel and other friends jumped on stage to assist Kris Orlowski in his set. Or my favorite moment from the weekend when Daniel sat under an apple tree well after midnight singing Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” a capella, surrounded by fans and friends who sang along.
On top of all that I must also say that Daniel wins my award for best dressed at the festival. You can see in the photo here that he has a Clint Eastwood in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” kind of look going on and it works!
I was lucky enough to speak with Daniel back here in the real world after the festival had ended to get his take on Doe Bay. This is what he had to say about the weekend:
Me: Was this your first time playing at Doe Bay Fest?
Me: How is this festival different from some of the other festivals in the northwest?
Daniel: As soon as we got there Kevin Sur said “this is setup for you. It’s like a summer camp for artists. This weekend is about you relaxing and getting recharged and meeting people.”
I have never been to a festival that was consciously trying to create community, which is something I live for. Right off the bat we were welcomed and they let us know we were going to be treated well. Throughout the whole weekend the vibe was just that we should all be glowingly happy together. Immediately I started to feel my cynicism and sarcasm just fall off of me. After a couple of hours of being there I was so genuinely happy and it just got better and better.
Kevin handpicks who he brings to the festival and is very careful. It’s not just based on merit. It’s based on people he thinks will get together in a positive way. I found myself all over the place spontaneously creating. I felt free to belong to a community whether it was playing soccer or singing around the fire. It felt like I was a part of something.
Me: You’re right. It is very much a little community or almost like it’s own little city. It’s not like any other music festival I’ve ever been to.
Daniel: The only other festival I’ve been to that has that openness of freedom and giving is Burning Man. I went a few years ago and it was very similar. The premise is the same. We are here to give but also to freely receive and it was just beautiful.
You’re right that it can’t even truly be compared to a festival. It is more like a summer camp.
Me: After you got there and started to relax did you find it hard to amp back up for your show? I’ve seen you play several time and never seen you unload like you did when you played in the yoga studio at Doe Bay.
Daniel: I think a couple of things are happening right now for our band. We are experiencing some freedom and restructuring a lot of our own creativity. There is also a lot of love between us right now. Then to be put in an environment where the audience was just there directly feeding us, there is no barrier.
I was lit up man. I was absolutely floating. It wasn’t like reality. I was just so blasted with love and support.
Me: Last question. Can you talk a little bit about playing under the apple tree at midnight with John Roderick, Bobby Bare Jr. and Noah Gunderson? Your were the only one who didn’t bring a guitar. What were you expecting?
Daniel: That was an interesting day for me. Kevin had asked me early on if I wanted to do a secret show and I was assuming it would be me, John Roderick and 15 people. That was really intimidating.
The only other time I’ve been to Doe Bay The Long Winters (Roderick’s band) headlined and that was the first time I had seen them and I had this moment where John Roderick looked at me in the crowd and said something that I thought was directed to me and I was having this total fanboy moment before I even had a band. To come back and be asked to sit next to him as a peer was really intimidating and I thought about it all day and right at the last minute I heard Noah was doing it and I felt more comfortable and just jumped up there and had nothing planned. For whatever reason had the boldness and the balls to go for it a capella which is not something I have done before.
It could have been a train wreck but it was something that just worked out.