Summer seems to be the season when everyone starts to congregate and touch base and spend time with the people in their lives. Besides holidays, I’ve always found that winter and fall tend to be pretty solitary time. We spend most of our time with work or school and always seem to busy outside of Thanksgiving and winter holiday gatherings to come together and spend time with the various people in our lives.
As the weather gets warmer, we tend to get more leisurely. Music has always been my community, and in the warmer weather walking around downtown where I live, it seems there’s always someone strumming on a sidewalk or in a park once it starts to warm up, block parties and bonfires and backyards, temporary communities of both familiar and new. Turn everyone out into the sun and the summer, and they tend to find their way together.
Growing up, there were festival concerts in the summer, finding new friends and old through shared interests in music, seeing professional musicians and local kids trying to hawk a few copies of an EP all coming together alike around this shared community. The summers and the festivals fade, but that sense of community and the people you meet tend to stick around.
A sort of cross between a neighborhood block party and a festival show, some artists have taken to hosting summer get-togethers of a day or two where it’s not just a concert, it’s that community normally associated with the backyard bonfires and summer beach parties.
I was lucky enough to attend Stephen Kellogg’s annual summer bash in 2012, affectionately referred to as “Field Day.” Not just a concert, Kellogg and crew took the Field Day concept the whole nine yards, inviting fans new and old to play the silly sort of games you may remember from your school days (3-legged race, anyone?) with the band and have burgers and hotdogs, all a big picnic of sorts. The concerts happened too, but it was the field day aspect, the idea that fans new and old, people who knew each other and those who had never met coming together to form friendships through silly games and burgers and simply spending the weekend in the company of each other that was most engaging.
There’s a certain sort of atmosphere to Kellogg’s shows, an earnest and personal performance quality, and the familiarity and community of Field Day magnified this. It’s something really special to have this sort of event, and the band knew it as well as anyone. The sincerity and familiarity that Kellogg and his fellow artists bring to the event makes it seem more like spending time with family and friends in your back yard than going to see a performer.
The event has grown a bit and undergone a name change post-SK6ERS, taking the name SK’s Family Barbecue. It’s definitely something special, and well worth attending this year with additional events such as trivia with the bands and an acoustic jam at the park. The barbecue and concerts with be held on the 20th and 21st at Jammin Java, with the cookout events nearby. There’s something special and deeply personable that Kellogg brings to the table, and with a new album out that’s full of boldly honest lyrics and expression, this is a weekend that’s not to be missed.