Music lovers get taste of talent, heat at festival

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Audiences and performers tasted variety as they endured muggy heat at the City of Roses Festival on Friday.

Early performances on the four main stages delivered music that appealed to all ages and also covered different genres. Clusters of people sampled the performances, migrating among the three stands along Water Street.

"You would walk to a different booth and it would be totally different music, a totally different sound," said 16-year-old Teresa Bradley of Sikeston. "They were spaced out far enough that you could hear them. You could get a taste of the music."

Bradley and her friends started at the Independence stage, where St. Louis metal band Field of Grey pierced eardrums with sheer volume. The band was too loud for them, so they strolled to the next stage, where Cairo, Ill., band Stace England cleanly delivered southern and sixties-inspired rock.

A harmonica solo by Doug Rees with Big Larry Williams on the Broadway stage captured the friends' attention.

"I really liked the blues stuff," said 15-year-old Emily Muir of Cape Girardeau.

Overall, attenders seemed more subdued this year than last, said Cape Girardeau performer Bryan West, who played with Mike Renick and Lost Possum.

"I've heard several people complain about the heat tonight," he said.

Few people danced. Chairs in short supply, they claimed strips of sidewalk and curbs to stand and sit on.

"The majority of the people who come down here don't know what they are going to see," West said. Yet people seemed to enjoy the music for what it was.

Vending booths offered popcorn, beer, pickles on a stick, back massages and a hand shake from a monkey. Leroy with Monkey on the Midway was polite as people paid him for a hand shake, a picture of him and a picture with him.

Bradley and her friends visited the riverfront and ate ice cream at Nick's Family Sports Pub. Bradley said that her mom was uncomfortable that she went without adults and only with other teenagers.

"I don't necessarily feel unsafe here," Bradley said.

Muir agreed, saying, "My dad said that this is a drinking kind of thing, but I haven't got that feeling yet."

Overall, the night allowed school friends from different towns to "chill," said Bradley, who attends Notre Dame Regional High School.

Fifteen-year-old Lucas Eeftink of Kelso relished the night. "It gets my mind off school," he said.

jmetelski@semissourian.com

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: