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[Note: reposting due to addition of several new photos..]

(From the Grassroots Festival website):

“The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance started a long time back as a concert to benefit local AIDS support organization AIDSwork at the State Theater in Ithaca NY. Featured artists were Donna the Buffalo and pals The Horse Flies, and Neon Baptist.”

“Encouraged by the success of that night, members of Donna the Buffalo conspired to create a festival that would continue to raise money for the fight against AIDS and other worthy causes, provide regional and national exposure for excellent local musicians, and expose the local and regional music lovers to excellent national and international artists.”

“The idea proved a success, and with the help of zillions of volunteers, and the generous support of many friends in the musical community, GrassRoots came into being as an annual event.”

“In the intervening decade(s), GrassRoots has grown from humble beginnings to become a nationally recognized event, unique in its focus on traditional and contemporary roots music, and one of the few self-sustaining non-profit arts organizations in the state.”

I’ve now attended this festival intermittently over the past 4-5 years, and officially photographed it the past 2 years. To me, the festival is a great opportunity to do some street photography and to help the festival live on by providing the organization with photos of all the fun and quirky stuff going on.

I attended two afternoons this year, whereas I was at the festival for about a day and a half last year. If I photograph it again next year, I’ll probably pick a single day.

I was very conscious of trying not to repeat photos from last year. Sure, the people are different; but the buildings, structures, landscaping and some of the vendors were the same. Also, things like the firetruck coming out and spraying people with water (to cool down), the happiness parade, and collections of people doing hula hoops is repeated from year to year.

Let’s just say the “lay” of the event was quite familiar to me this year after spending 1.5 days photographing it last year, and I was fighting to keep my photographic eye “fresh” and the photos from being mere carbon copies of last year.

After a slow and somewhat uncertain first afternoon of photographing, something “kicked in” for me during the second afternoon on the last day of the event that made it a better day of photography for me. One thing that helped (I think) was I told myself I didn’t have to take photographs…that I might as well relax and enjoy myself and have fun with it. This seemed to help a lot…:).

Anyway, I’m going to start posting the 2013 photos in the gallery below. I’ve got 35+ to begin with, but more will be coming!


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