This music festival spawned a great deal of fun (I couldn't help myself)... For over 11 hours, we were blown away. This was one of those amazing days, whose description will never do it justice. I'll try with photos.

Salmonfest has become widely recognized both nationally and within the state as the most compelling and dynamic event in Alaska.  Every year over 8,000 people (more than 1% of state's population) turn the Kenai Peninsula village of Ninilchik into a city as families and friends fill the region with encampments full of music, food, fish & love.  Over the three day weekend many of Alaska’s top food, crafts, art and brews are available throughout the grounds and a family friendly atmosphere, including a daily children’s program is part of the four stage extravaganza that includes over 50 acts.
I had to include this encampment. This guy was lucky that the weather was so great. We were informed that this was the first time, in the Fest's seven year history,  they had to issue a "sunscreen" warning. It started out chilly and then became glorious. What a day!
It's more than just fun, however:
With Salmonfest, we wish to emphasize and celebrate the connection of all Alaskans to the fish and the waters that provide this magnificent resource. We urge everyone from all over the state, and entire country, to come together for this Salmonfest weekend, and find camaraderie in the issues that unite us and put aside the things that divide us. Together let’s continue to move forward and celebrate wild Alaska in a weekend of Fish, Love & Music!
There was a great deal of education- sharing the environmental concerns of Alaska, regarding its rivers. Steve is standing under newly created Salmon Prayer Flags.
The event was formally called Salmonstock but that probably sounded too much like what you'd make soup with.
How cool was this solar cell phone charging station? This and a zero waste policy really made the event world friendly.
So what was the day really about? Oh man, the music! We began by delighting in Ava Earl. If you recall, we became fans of this 14 year old singer-song writer while staying in Hope (was that really only a week ago?!). We were even more impressed this second show. And we'll get one more opportunity to see her perform before we leave Alaska. Woo hoo.
Unfortunately, you can't really see what is happening here with the band, Searson, but we had the chance to see them play TWICE and we were mesmerized both times. Colleen is a fiddling phenom. Whoa.
Jim Maloney took the prize for the most and variety of instrument playing. He is described as a Guitar Strok'n, Didge Blow'n, Foot Stomp'n, Drum Beat'n Son Of A Gun with an Eclectic Musical styling. Multi instrumentalist & Organic Artist. Yep, that about covers it!

At any given moment, throughout the day, there was an interesting and unique music experience happening on each of the five stages. This had us running around, a lot. We wanted to feast on all the Fest had to offer... a smorgasbord of song... Delicious. And if that wasn't enough, the people watching was extreme. Wow.

This band's dog seemed to be saying, "So been here, done that!" Cute.
Oh man, the food. Yes, they had standard Fair fare but whoa, some super amazing delicacies, too.

Served throughout was fresh halibut and salmon in almost any form you could think of. That said, we shared an AK Tater Pig upon singer Ava's recommendation. So the chef takes a potato, grabs his power tool and drills a hole in said spud. He then inserts a tasty sausage in the potato and bakes them together, to perfection. Once ordered, the tater pig is then topped with cheese, onions, bacon and sour cream to create a magical taste sensation.

I have to add here how incredible we have found the Alaskan people to be. WAY INCREDIBLE. One small example happened while we were waiting for some music to start. We were sitting on the lawn next to some locals. He was eating the Pad Thai that both Steve and I had wanted to try but didn't. He actually offered us each a taste. When I said we had moved from savory to sweet (but thank you), he dug in his backpack and pulled out some amazing truffles. What unique kindness. We totally get why Alaska is so loved- it's the extraordinary inhabitants.

We knew we were only going to attend one of the three days of Salmonfest so we chose the final day because the headliner was Jewel. To see some video and learn more about the day, click on this link for an article on KTUU.
There is so much to say about Jewel. She is an amazing storyteller, in song and in person. This was the first time she has performed in Alaska since 2009. She is a local girl, raised on her family's homestead in Homer. Her dad joined her on stage. Atz Kilcher is a star in his own right. He is the host of Discovery channel's Alaska: The Last Frontier.
She also brought her brother, Atz, Jr. on stage. What a talented and funny guy. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting her family. It felt like a reunion in which we were invited.
Also on stage, today at Salmonfest was Steve Poltz (another fun and talented musician). Steve is a long time friend of Jewel's from her life in San Diego. Jewel shared a story of a trip to Mexico she took with Steve. What a funny story. While there, they wrote three songs, one of which was- I was meant for you- Jewel's biggest hit! Wow.
I thought this was so adorable, while Steve sang, she took her friend's photo. Oh and before she let him use her mic, she asked him, "Are you well?" He said that he was. They then talked a bit more and before she sang a duet with him, she asked again, "You sound stuffy. Are you sure you're well?" Oh man, we're kindred germaphobes. So dang awesome.
Then, for a total surprise, very famous (and awesome) Zac Brown walks on stage.
I know Zac for his song, My Old Man. I cried throughout the entire song and then Zac brings his dad on stage. Water works! Exceptional.
Jewel then performed her most haunting song (and her first written when she was only 16) Who Will Save Your Soul? This day was so completely awesome... all of it.

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Karen Booth said...

Well, if it had been "music, food, CHOCOLATE, love", I would have been in. That being said, I would totally have loved the AK tater tot! It looked like some of the crowd was high on something other than salmon. Glad you enjoyed the music and sun!

Aquí Ahí Allá said...

Very cool! Even better than you thought, and you thought it was going to be spectacular! :)
I didn't realize that Jewel had so much talent in her family, but it is no surprise, talent usually starts early, with family influence. It sounds like an epic day!

Cyndy Brown said...

Man, you both know how to hit the best spots at the best time. Brings me back to my San Fransisco days!
LOVE Jewels it a poncho? Just might have to make myself one.

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