Saturday, September 26, 2009
Nulu Festival: Another Reason I Love Louisville
Today's revelation: I don't volunteer enough. Seriously, I have all kinds of time on my hands most weeks, and there's no reason on God's green earth I shouldn't be putting it to use to help good causes. So if you've got a good cause out there, and you need a warm body who's not so great at heavy lifting or cold-calling people, Lou's your gal.
Revelation #2: My "retail" skills are way too good. It's kind of scary. I was hocking tshirts and chatting up buyers like it was, well, my calling.
Well, this has been a weekend that makes you proud to be a Louisvillager. As I said in my last post, IdeaFestival represents the very best of Louisville and all the hopes that this Louisvillager has for the future of the city. And tonight I volunteered at the first Nulu Festival, working the t-shirt stand. (That's the t-shirt stand above, pre-monsoon.) And despite the fact that the torrential rains washed out the last two or so hours of the festival, I think I can safely say that Nulu Festival is probably the best new festival in the city.
Celebrating the "rebirth" of the downtown East Market district, the East Market Street Business Association joined forces with Leadership Louisville and the Bingham Fellows to create the Nulu Festival. The festival was supposed to last from 5-11p, but it was cut short by a storm around 9:15pm. The music line-up alone made it worth attending for the entire event (which I did). The evening opened with the cover band, the Generic Alternatives. They were mostly good. I especially appreciated their cover of REM's "Superman." They were followed by the fantastic Thomas A Minor and the Picket Line, a bluegrass band. The Instruction turned out to be the discovery of the evening-- they had an awesome sound, and I am definitely going to seek out their shows.
Once Ben Sollee took the stage, I had no fewer than a half dozen people stop by the tshirt booth and say, "Who IS this guy??" When I explained who he was, the most common response was, "And he's LOCAL? You're kidding me??" No joke, kids, Ben Sollee is a frigging local treasure. In fact, I am going to download his album from iTunes as soon as I am done blogging. Roommate and I agree that Sollee's set at Bonnaroo 2009 was one of the best shows of the festival. If I were, ahem, actually getting any action these days, I could easily see Sollee's music replacing (or supplementing) Leonard Cohen as my "favorite music to get busy to." (Is that TMI? Blame the Jim Beam.)
Sollee was a trooper and played through much of the downpour. Unfortunately the Festival was canceled once the winds picked up and started blowing tents around and Lucky Pineapple never got to play. Rumor had it that they had a HUGE act planned with more than a dozen instruments and, at least according to the rumor, a choir. Such a shame.
Nulu Festival featured yummo burgers and brats and chicken by White Oak and some great looking panini by Bodega (where I had lunch today-- why do I always forget that Bodega exists?? It's such a totally charming place! And man, they make a mean lobster bisque!). Wine by Felice Vineyards and BBC brews.
Speaking of brews, there's a new place opening up on Market-- a beer store, right by Toast. Apparently they're opening in a few weeks, but opened their doors for the Festival. I don't know anything about it yet, but as it involves beer I will be sure to find out ASAP.
Most of the other booths at the Festival focused on eco-friendly stuff. There was a booth for the proposed botanical gardens and for a park proposed for Market. I'd promised myself that during my next break from the t-shirt booth, I'd check those out more earnestly, but the rains cut short my evening.
Overall, the first 4.5 hrs of the Nulu Festival were an unmitigated success. Great tunes, great food, great drink, great crowds, and almost preternaturally great weather-- especially given the total sog that this week has been. I look forward to next year's festival and to volunteering again.
And again, if you need a volunteer, let me know. I am, sigh, especially good at selling t-shirts. (the Nulu Festival t-shirts were especially cute and very reasonably priced at $7)