Entertainment industry bylaws dictate that the show must go on — fortunately, they’re a little bit less specific on the matters of “where” and “how”
The first-ever Elk-Ha Fest set up shop on the Millheim Fire Co. grounds late Sunday afternoon with nothing but a few tents, a couple of food trucks and a name cobbled together from a defunct music festival and the folks who were supposed to be serving beer there this weekend.
It’s kind of a long story, but the moral is blessedly succinct.
“It just seems like people want to hang out outside, drink beer and listen to music. Who knew, right?” Tim Bowser, proprietor of Elk Creek Café and Aleworks, said.
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It just seems like people want to hang out outside, drink beer and listen to music. Who knew, right?
Tim Bowser, Elk Creek Café and Aleworks proprietor
Bowser had originally planned to spend this Sunday — a warm one smack dab in the middle of July — on the grounds of Penn’s Cave, enjoying the lineup of local and visiting artists scheduled to perform at the Karoondinha Music and Arts Festival.
He didn’t have tickets so much as a professional mandate, a gig as the musicians are so fond of calling these things. Plus in the dead of summer, a truck full of refreshments tends to open doors.
But alas, there were to be no doors. No festival either. Karoondinha’s organizers pulled the plug on the event back in June.
Bowser had admired the original lineup’s commitment to local performers — plus many of his staffers had purchased tickets, so he knew they’d be available on short notice.
Thus, Elk-Ha was born.
“It’s a receptive audience for people to listen to original music, which I think is somewhat lacking in the area,” Bowser said.
Eric Ian Farmer is a singer-songwriter based out of State College. He should have been performing at Penn’s Cave on Sunday, but seemed just as comfortable with a cozy venue in Milheim.
Farmer called his Karoondinha booking “an awesome prospect” but said that enjoys the community that Elk Creek fosters.
“It was a letdown that Karoondinha got canceled. This softened the letting down,” Farmer said.
The same more or less applied to hip-hop artist Dwight Conroy Farrell — aka Count Bass D.
Farrell relocated to the Millheim area in January and was also scheduled to take the stage at Karoondinha this weekend.
It was a letdown that Karoondinha got canceled. This softened the letting down.
Eric Ian Farmer
Instead, he spent Sunday afternoon behind a DJ booth, laying down some conversation music in between acts like Pure Cane Sugar and Hannah Bingman and the Dilly Beans.
Disappointment didn’t appear to be on the playlist.
“Any time that music can be played in a communal setting out in the community, I think it’s fantastic,” Farrell said.
Maybe it was the sun, but for Dana Bryant, Karoondinha already seemed to be a distant memory.
“I kind of forgot this was the weekend,” Bryant said.
She had purchased tickets to the festival at Penn’s Cave with the hope of catching a performance by X Ambassadors, but seemed perfectly content to sit at a picnic table with her husband, sipping a beer.
Maybe even the best-laid plans can occasionally benefit from a little spontaneity.
“We just did this impromptu,” Bryant said.