< Reviews of Past Cowboy Poetry Gatherings, Cowboy Festivals, and Other Events

Maple Creek Review, September 19th to 21st, 2014
Review by Ed Brown and Sue Harris

This year's 25th Annual Maple Creek gathering enjoyed beautifully warm autumn weather. Although we weren't able to attend the night shows, due to other commitments, we enjoyed every minute of the day sessions that we could attend.

One thing that we noticed was that, although at many gatherings, being slotted for a 10:00 or 11:00 am session can almost feel like being sent to Siberia, at Maple Creek, the seats are FULL right from the get-go ... and audiences there really LISTEN. Combine that with the first-class PA system and sound engineer, and performing at Maple Creek is a true joy.

The ACPA was well represented ... besides the two of us, we saw Lloyd Dolen, Rod Erickson, Perry Jacobson, Doug Keith, Mag Mawhinney, Phyllis Rathwell, Robbie Robertson, Chris Schauer, and Randy & Rai Smith. Everyone sure seemed to be at the top of their game!

We also heard several non-ACPA performers who sure impressed us, such as Dale Mailand (poet), Will Ballantyne (fiddler/guitarist and GREAT singer) and the group Barbwire. This is of course by no means the all-inclusive list ... we could ramble on and on about the talent there that weekend!

This year, in the CD sales room, for a modest 10%, Fran Kelly (wife of the famous Hugh Kelly, one of our favorite singers) took wonderful care of selling our CDs and keeping track of the money. That was a great solution to the issue of "who is going to hang out in the sales room and take care of business?"

The ladies in the kitchen supplying sustenance for hungry performers and attendees were also in top form ... dishing out butter tarts (though we missed out on those!!) and the most amazing coconut cream pie that one ever laid tooth to. And Sue would like to thank whoever was responsible for putting a bowl of Bick's Sweet Mix pickles out for the Friday evening buffet. (You can't get those in the States!)

We would also like to thank Greg and Melody Hisey of Ghost Town Blues for their gracious housing during the festival, and also acknowledge the legendary Maple Creek billeting for all performers. As Eleanor Bowie said, "You will never be roofless in Maple Creek"! Thank you for making all the artists feel so welcome!

The gathering wrapped up with the traditional cowboy church, and then closed with a set that included a final song by Harry and Jen (Harry Koch and Jeanette Zollner) that was written especially for Maple Creek's 25th anniversary ... what a great close for a terrific weekend! We are sure looking forward to being back there next year!

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