[If you’re in a “tl;dr” sort of mood, you can go directly to the photos of Saylestock 2017, right here.]
The great David Letterman said, during his induction speech of Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, something that really resonated with me.
“And when I came here to rehearsal this afternoon and heard live music again, I was reminded: Oh my God, what a gift live music is...Never take the opportunity for live music for granted, that’s the message I can bring to you folks tonight.”
A reminder to not take anything for granted, really.
Now, I’m nowhere near the recluse Mr. Letterman seems to be, but when I moved from Hoboken to Ridgewood some 16 years ago, from urban excitement to suburban consistency, I accepted the fact that I would no longer be able to leave my home and walk down the block to Maxwell’s to see a fantastic band, or spend 5 hours after work in NYC to check out some bands at The Mercury Lounge or Brownies. Those days, I figured, were behind me.
And for the most part, they were.
But then after a decade in the relatively sleepy town of Ridgewood, things started popping up. I recall stumbling upon an event called Saylestock, back in 2015. I saw the announcement online somewhere, as you do. It was a fund-raiser for salivary cancer awareness and research in the memory of a local young man named Matt Sayles, and the event would include artists, and a bunch of live bands. Right here in the town square in my sleepy little town. I ran right up to the park that first year, with camera in hand, of course, to be a part of this wonderful event.
I was introduced to a great community of like-minded people and artists and musicians and friends-and-family-of-Matt. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen in Ridgewood. The bands were just fantastic. There was folk music, there was jazz, there was bluegrass, there was rock and roll, there was all sorts of great music by fantastic artists, performing for a warm crowd, encased by great vibes.
Every year I’d look forward to the event. It became a thing I’d tell everyone I’d meet in town about. “You live in Ridgewood? You gotta go to Saylestock. It’s excellent!”
This year, I was unfortunately out-of-town and returning that Sunday afternoon. Well I’ll tell you, I couldn’t wait to land in Newark, get home, and get up to the park. I dumped my luggage in the living room, grabbed my cameras, made sure I had batteries and empty memory cards, and managed to get to Saylestock by 2:30 or so. I missed a few acts I’m sorry to say, but gosh did I have a full day of music and positive spirit ahead of me.
I captured some images of the bands and the event, which I’d like share for you here. Click here for the gallery.