The artists have arrived. Well, most of the artists have arrived. Weather is often not our friend the week of the Gathering. Right now, Elko is beautiful--clear skies, a dusting of snow on the lawns, dry streets and warm temperatures. But it's been snowing in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Utah, Colorado and just about every other place where the artists are traveling from. DW Groethe decided to fly in to Elko since the roads out to Rodney Nelson's place (where they were meeting so neither would have to drive the 1,200 miles to Elko alone) were all closed. Rodney wasn't sure he'd get out because the power kept going out. Elizabeth Ebert decided the trek was too risky through storms and snow to make the journey. There have been other troubles getting the artists here, too. Some of Corb Lund's band, The Hurtin' Albertans, had their flights rerouted. We were missing Corb's drummer for a while, but he showed up just in time to catch the shuttle from Salt Lake City to Elko. Dennis Gaines was almost left in Salt Lake because I forgot to tell him how to get from SLC to Elko (thanks to Chris Simon for picking him up). Nick Spitzer had some flight delays, but Andy Wilkinson and Andy Hedges were kind enough to squeeze him into their car. They left Salt Lake City just before midnight, arrived in Elko early in the morning, then Andy and Andy had a show at 9:30 am. Troopers, all of them.
Thank goodness we work with the artists we do. Rodney called me every couple of hours to update his status. He drove from North Dakota last night, with only three hours of sleep (in the car, no less), just so he wouldn't miss his first show, "Punny Poets." Yvonne Hollenbeck, Andy Nelson and Pat Richardson had found someone (rather, something) to fill in for Rodney if he didn't make it. Lucky for Rodney, he didn't have to be represented by a very accurate drawing Pat Richardson sketched and then placed atop a toilet plunger. Lucky for me, everyone who performs at the Gathering looks out for each other. and they do it with good humor.
Almost everyone is here and it's like being home again.