Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 6:24 PM on Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Salmonstock wows crowd

By Angelina Skowronski
For the Homer News


Photo by Angelina Skowronski

Homer reggae group Uplift performs last weekend at Salmonstock in Ninilchik.

The weatherman called for mixed conditions, but that didn't stop more than 2,000 music lovers from dancing in the rain this past Saturday for Salmonstock in Ninilchik. No Alaska festival dedicated to its wild red species would be complete without Grunden's raingear and a few XtraTufs to dance to the beat of Bill Kreutzman's drums.

Friday and Sunday's forecasts brought in fairer weather to the gratitude of festival-goers. Jackie Greene's electrifying performance on Friday was the talk of the festival for the weekend, while the main stage was packed nearly beyond capacity on Saturday for reggae legend Clinton Fearon and jam band 7 Walkers.

Sunday was equally energetic with Homer's own reggae group Uplift giving an encore performance, as well as Holy Santos throwing the crowd into high gear. Colorado's Great American Taxi closed the festival with fast banjo riffs to rally the crowds.

Local artist Mavis Muller facilitated a 400-peson human mosaic of a salmon Saturday afternoon with the help of floatplane pilot Mike McCann and photographer Jake Schmutzler. And Ray Troll along with Californian Artist Memo Jauregui from San Diego, filled every nook and cranny of untouched canvas they could find with spray paint and tie dye.

Doug Schwiesow's fire-breathing metal-work salmon sculptures lit up the main stage all three nights, as well as the group Church of Flaming Funk, who continued the fire tradition late into the night with fire juggling and acrobats. The late night pavilion kept partiers rocking until sunrise earlier Saturday and Sunday mornings with music from Anchorage's Superfrequency and Seattle's Flowmotion.

Aside from the many food vendors, including Homer's own Fresh Catch Café serving their classic fish and chips, environmental nonprofit organizations came out to enjoy and educate. Homer's Cook Inletkeeper and the Chuitna Citizens Coalition among others offered festival goers information on the dangers to our local environment as well as fun activities such as T-shirt painting and temporary tattoos.

The Education/Action Center held talks about Alaska's environmental issues given by Executive Director of the Renewable Resources Foundation and fearless festival spear header, Anders Gustafson. The building also housed film presentations such as Red Gold, a documentary on the issues framed around salmon conservation.

Before introducing the 7 Walkers on stage Saturday evening, he asked Alaskans to "keep it wild." Wild it was and wild it remains; the Renewable Resource Foundation has spawned its first annual wild Alaskan event.

Angelina Skowronski is a freelance writer in Homer.