It’s not all about the music at the 10,000 Lakes Musicfest. Sometimes, while you’re strolling around looking at the tie-dye t-shirts and other paraphernalia for sale, you come across something so unexpected and cool that it makes your day.
Yesterday, I had one of those moments when I stopped by the Space Art Family booth and watched a guy use nothing but spray paint to create an otherworldly painting of such delicacy and precision that it looked like it was created on a computer. And he did it in about ten minutes, with an astonished crowd huddled around him, cheering him on. All you budding taggers out there should hide their heads in shame—this is what you can do with a can of spray paint, if you know what you're doing. You have to see it done to believe it’s possible, so here’s a video.
This peculiar art form was started by a guy named Kurt Kiergaard, who died of liver disease last year, but his wife has kept the business running. Clearly, he was some kind of mad genius. There’s no telling how long his wife is going to keep her departed husband Kurt’s memory alive this way, though, so folks who snatch these works up on the festival circuit this year may have a future collector’s item on their hands. I hope so—I bought two of them.
Another astonishing artistic creation I have discovered (and which is almost impossible to avoid because they have four booths here) is the glorious Oof-Da Taco. It costs $8, but the Oof-Da Taco is a monumental mega-calorie invention that could probably keep you going for a week. The base is a deep-fried pita-like “pig’s ear,” and inside is an enormous pile of meaty, cheesy, creamy, gooey, spicy, oozie goodness that tastes as otherworldly as the Space Art Family’s artwork looks. A head’s up: Look for them at the State Fair. You will be amazed.
The weirdness factor got kicked up a few notches yesterday. Festivals are supposed to be fun, but some people have more fun than others. While I was on my way to the aforementioned Off-Da Taco booth, I saw a guy dressed in a business suit—which would have been weird all by itself, but that wasn’t all. He was wearing a fishhead mask and had a green tailfin sticking out of the back of his suit. After Widespread Panic ripped it up for three-and-a-half hours on the mainstage, local mainstays Wookiefoot kept the party going into the wee hours. Among the attractions there was a woman dressed as a giant preying mantis, walking on stilts, “attacking” unsuspecting men and, for all I know, eating them alive, as preying mantis's are said to do. On stilts she was about 10 feet tall, glowed neon green, and lent the scene an appropriate air of sci-fi strangeness. If you’ve ever seen Wookiefoot perform, you know why that’s appropriate. If Isaac Asimov and H.P. Lovecraft started a band, it would look and sound something like Wookiefoot.
Before all of this nonsense, Cloud Cult was busy in the afternoon mesmerizing a huge crowd at the smaller Barn Stage, and next door, at the Saloon stage, fingerpicking phenom Tim Sparks was demonstrating the otherworldly possibilities of the humble acoustic guitar. “The guy’s a freak of nature,” a guy behind me said. Yes, I thought, and he has found an appropriate home here, among those who appreciate a little freakiness in their music.
Tonight, of course, the grounds will swell with an extra 10,000 or so people who are descending on the Soo Pass Ranch grounds for the only Midwest appearance this year by the Dave Matthews Band. We’ll need a little luck to keep the rain away, but it promises to be a special night. Check back tonight—I’ll be reporting on the show as soon as is technically possible.