We were trying to come up with something special to do for Meg’s birthday this year when Brooke happened to notice one of our favorite “family friendly” musical groups, The Okee Dokee Brothers, were coming to Kansas City. The concert fell around Meg’s birthday, so close enough, right?
A bit of background: Brooke ran across their music 5 or 6 years ago and, though I can’t remember why exactly we listened in the first place (let alone how we discovered them…), my recollection mostly surrounds their fourth album, Can You Canoe?, which was inspired by their trip down the Mississippi River from St. Paul, MN to St. Louis, MO. For Meg, it was a collection of creative and catchy tunes. For Brooke and me, it was intelligently produced kids’ music that hearkened back to our own childhood experiences in this region, while also representing great bluegrass-style music. That album went on to win the Grammy for Best Children’s Album in 2013. They have since come out with two other albums, one inspired by their hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail, and another around their trip to the Rocky Mountains.
Thus, after church this morning, we went ahead and hit the road for Crown Center, where we ended up at Fritz’s again. I think we waited a good 45 minutes to get into that place last year before going to Legoland for Meg’s 6th birthday, but this time, the line was considerably shorter (read: non-existent). We were in-and-out relatively quickly and moved on to the Kansas City Folk Festival.
The event itself was pretty well organized, taking place at the Westin hotel in most of its various conference rooms. Each show took place “on the hour” and ran for 45 minutes, and 5 or 6 shows were going on simultaneously, allowing listeners to move between rooms and get a good sampling of musical styles. A substantial number of the acts were Spanish language-focused, which was very interesting musically, though difficult to deal with lyrically. Still, Meg seemed like she was “bobbing her head” quite a bit, even if she didn’t know what exactly was going on.
The Okee Dokee Brothers went on at 2:00 and were great. In the picture above, Meg and Calvin are sitting on the floor just in front of the stage, so they had a front row seat to all the action.
This room was packed with families. The organizers probably should have seen this coming, though to be honest, how all these people had heard of The Okee Dokee Brothers is beyond me. Still, Brooke and I had to hold up a wall on the side of the room, with Calvin running back and forth from where Meg was sitting and where we were standing. We weren’t next to Meg at all during the music, but we could see her copying the motions and singing along, as she knew many of the songs already. So far as concerts go, they did a good job mixing their older stuff with their newer stuff, so that helped out quite a bit, as we haven’t listened to their newest album as much as their older ones.
It ended up being a fun time! Not a particularly cheap experience, as were were also funding our “attendance” to all of the other bands that were there, but ultimately, I think we all agreed it was worth the trip. The music was great, the experience was something different from what Meg’s used to, and it was an excuse to get out of the house for a day.
Win/win for everyone. 🙂