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Hartford RustFest (Nov. 8, 1996)

Your Host - Jennie Leith

Pre-Fest Notice

No "formal call" was issued, but after a lot of haggling on the Rust List, it was agreed that the Holiday Inn near The Meadows would be the gathering place....

Fest Report

(Also see the Show Reviews.)

Hey hey - hear hear! Rusties from near and far gathered in Hartford!!!   8-)

  1. Jennie Leith
  2. Barb Heinsohn (bh aka brown skinned indian)
  3. Mary Maguire
  4. Roger Weiss (schoolboy)
  5. Billy Hower (Candle in the Fog)
  6. Bill Labossiere
  7. Keith Wise
  8. Mike Jones
  9. Gary Wilson (Computer Cowboy)
  10. Laurie Waite (Lorries Rolling By)
  11. Ron Waite
  12. Dennis Steward
  13. Kathy Moody
  14. Chris Watters
  15. Jason Hill
  16. Jim Duffy
  17. Mike Young (Youngster)
  18. Joe Bianco (Loose Change)
  19. Jack Mullins (Shakey)
  20. Mark Williams
  21. Rhonda Williams
  22. Geof Ryan (Locator)

The designated RustFest location turned out to be a multi-story building displaying its Holiday Inn logo in huge green neon letters visible from miles away - thanks to Chris Lanser for suggesting it!   :-)

I drove down from Boston with lurkers Chris Watters who had flown in from St. Louis, and his friend Jason Hill from Harvard. Our early 4pm arrival at The Meadows parking lot provided a sight I've never seen before and probably never will again -- only about 10 cars there and not one security guard or parking lot attendant! Muttering, "This is really wierd!" over and over again, I drove right up to the front box office (on its sidewalk as I suddenly realized), then parked just to the side. Hopping out we sauntered casually up to the venue doors with a vague idea of sneaking in to hear the sound check (BTW guys I found out later the sound check had already been done) but no luck - the chains were locked and tied across the door...   ;-)

After a few chilly ones for the road, we hiked through the rain to the Holiday Inn Sports Bar where his MORE BARN! shirt made Bill from New Hampshire an easy Rustie to find! He and his friend (Pat? Paul?) had already been festing - since 3:30 they said! We pulled up some chairs but before we could even sit down, in walked our own bh - aka bsi - Barb Heinsohn and Computer Cowboy - Gary Wilson! There were hugs and happy greetings all around - how is it that people we've never met can feel so much like old friends? :-) To my great delight I then discovered that the bar had Bass on tap (ah!!!), and as bh and I were hanging by the bar Schoolboy Roger Weiss arrived (alas, without his fish on the line)!

The magical Mary Maguire appeared and what's more - she carried the Shroud of Tourin' in her arms - how great was that?!?! Sharpies were quickly broken out around the room and the banner unfolded for inspection. "Where is it - where did Neil sign? Where did Zeke sign? Hey look at that and that!" I can't describe the jumble of feelings I had seeing all those familiar names and handles scrawled across the fabric, the handwriting and words chosen all revealing just a little bit more about all of you, our Rustie cyberfriends all over North America... (CITS right in the middle of one of the MORE BARN Rs!!!)

Lorries Rolling By - Laurie Waite and her brother got there in plenty of time to Fest with us after all - yay!   :-)   Then there was Shakey (quite the ladykiller in black leather pants) and his gang... and the identity of his mystery guest was revealed ("a well-known Ruster from WAY out of town" was all he'd say before)... at which point I pretty much lost it for the rest of the night!   8-}   There in the flesh... was the legendary Locator, all the way from Dixieland to New England!   8-D

Also with the incredible Shakey - has anyone been to more '96 shows? - was his well-travelled companion Mike YOUNGSTER Young, looking refreshed and completely recovered from his previous tour burnout (after only 14 shows, Mike?)   ;-)   Joe Bianco aka Loose Change (sorry I don't think I got to meet you), and their friend Jim Duffy rounded out the Jack Mullins Quintet.

Things got kinda confusing after that - Rusties arrived thick and fast and it got real hard to keep track!   ;-)   I remember meeting Dennis Steward and another Bill and lots of other Rusties whose names I didn't have a chance to catch. (Who was that cool girl with the beret? Kathy Moody?) Luckily I felt the euphoria overtaking me and realized my mind was not equipped to handle such ecstacy and retain facts at the same time. Jason supplied me with paper and I passed around a signup sheet so that everyone could engrave their names for posterity (see above).

PLEASE if anyone knows of addional Rusties who were there, please speak up! For example I heard Old King (RichRin) was there but I didn't get to meet him and I don't see his name here on this torn and tattered piece of paper, so I don't think the above list is complete.

There were some more Rusties at the show who couldn't make it to the Fest, including:

LeoE from New Hampshire, Jim Chiarelli (Memory County Jail), Omar Zia (Lone Red Rider), Pete Culliney and of course our honorable Rust Row Coordinator Chris Lanser (Smoke-Ring) and his beautiful wife Ishita Mukerji - braving their first night away from their new baby daughter... and... to my great surprise and excitement -- the famous Randy Schechter and Cheryl Bedard (Cherry!!!!) all the way up from Maryland (and DC?) Sorry if my hugs overwhelmed ya... I was just so happy to finally meet two of my all-time favorite Rusties!   8-)

Looking forward to next time,

Jennie   :-)
MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA

Laurie Waite's Report

Hi all! I know lots has been said and written about the Hartford show already.....but here I am "doing what I do" and finally (yet reluctantly) coming out of this dream state I have been in ever since 11/8/96. I have been Out of My Mind, literally, from the impact this show has had on my life right now...but then, you know, it's Neil and he has always figured into my life situations most appropriately...so nothing new here!!!!

Yes, I did make it to the RustFest in plenty of time to meet fellow Rusters....walking into the hotel bar I saw some MORE BARN! shirts coming toward me, so I piped up and said "Hey, More Barn!" ... It was Shakey, Youngster, and Loose Change ... my first ever rusties to meet. Headed on into the bar and said Hello to the first MORE BARN! I saw...I think it was Bill Labossiere ... who I later spoke with for awhile at the bar as well ... and then I was met by BH and Jennie Leith (thought I recognized BH as another Barb ... strange how faces can be similiar). I spotted the banner and Jennie pointed out THE signature to me, handed me a sharpie and signed the banner I did ... and my Brother Ron signed it too!!

Went to the bar for a beer after that (yes, Jennie, I was glad to see they had Bass as well!) then I met Dennis Steward and his group of friends ... talked with Dennis for sometime. It was just such an overwhelming experience for me that I really wasn't sure what to say or do ... I just knew I was with a group of very special people ... what's that about Stars 'n Bars ... Rusties are the most brilliant Stars in Bars I know!!!   (-:

Walked over to the show ... correction, was blown over to the show ... walking down to our seats Ron and I were both thinking "this can't be right...it's so close!" But then I spotted LaBoss waving to me and knew it was right ... Awesome seats .... this was the beginning of Out of My Mind phase. We were in row H, I had a perfect view of Neil all night and the sound was great from there!! Got to sit next to rusties Country Girl and Bill Dorst. It was great chatting with them. We were wondering who Chris Lanser was and spotted somebody handing this Tall guy some money and sure enough that was Chris ... shook his hand before and after the show with many, many thank yous and appreciations ... Chris, It was definately worth the wait for you right?!!

The show was great ... as mentioned ... it was all so exciting!! I danced in my space all night (except during some of the accoustic set) ... thanks to Country Girl for putting up with me ... we did a high five when When you Dance I can Really Love came on!!

The Hurricane was better than at the Great Woods show, and I thought it was great there! Everything was so wonderful ... to finally get to see Neil play that ole guitar up close and his expressions/emotions ... I never have experienced anything better!! It was a spiritual experience for me.

Saturday morning when I woke up I felt like a changed person in some way ... refreshed and full of energy!! I played a Neil marathon all weekend, even in my car inbetween ... 15 CD's, 4 tapes. Haven't stopped yet (barring work of course)!!

Today ... I finally got through my piled up rust mail and am able to reflect on my experience and share it with all of you.

Great to meet everyone...

Keep on Rockin'

Peace & Love,
Lorries Rollingby

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