by Reed White
WESTON — This year’s Snap Pea Festival was presented August 11-13 by the Earth Mountain Education Farm, an educational organization teaching mountain organic farming techniques and permaculture. As in previous years, owners Joanie Steiner and Carter Morris created a fun music event that has remained faithful to the farm’s organic principles.
Tucked away in the Spanish Peaks southern backcountry, the farm’s location would discourage all but the most motivated party goers. Those who found their way to the event were asked to park at an outlying grassy field where they stepped into a horse-drawn buggy for a ride to the stage area. As the buggy rolled up to the stage, the new arrivals were greeted by a sight that was reminiscent of the 60s.
The festival grounds included booths selling items like tie-dye garments, organic food, and Odell’s draft beer. Organic pizza slices sold for $1.00 and herb tea was free. The performer’s stage was festooned with instruments and electronic audio gear, all of which was powered by Paul La Vigne’s portable solar power system.
Harmonica player Geno Hawkins was the master of ceremonies. In keeping with tradition, he introduced Dennis Rains and friends who kicked off Saturday’s events with cowboy western songs.
David and Annie Enke followed with a series of original and cover tunes. While they performed their version of “Dust in the Wind,” the wind blew a swirl of dust between audience and stage as though on cue. Annie’s soft and clear voice was complimented by David’s gentle harmony, reminiscent of Art Garfunkel. When Anne raised her flute, her ethereal notes found their way to all reaches of the grounds.
The High Wheelers of Colorado Springs played a mix of tunes rangeing from Appalachian music to the likes of The Grateful Dead. In between music acts, a troupe of four belly dancers kept the audience entertained.
La Veta’s Ken Saydak moved dancers to the foot-stomping area with his Chicago-style blues vocals and his hot boogie woogie keyboard. After several songs into his set, a cloud of smoke belched forth from stage audio equipment causing an unplanned intermission. All agreed his act was literally “smoking.” After the technical crew completed their remedial magic, Ken and two other backup musicians continued their act as though smoked equipment was hardly worth noting.
Planet O, a Huerfano County band, started at dusk and played into the night. As heavy darkness fell, weary spectators strolled to their tents in the pines. There, they leisurely climbed into sleeping bags, dozing off to Planet O’s distant throbbing melodies.