Gauley Fest. The mere mention of the paddling world’s most rambunctious party–a 5,000-person-strong watery Woodstock celebrating the annual fall releases on West Virginia’s Gauley River and benefiting American Whitewater–makes your liver hurt. It also makes your shoulders sore from three days on end of paddling the Upper and Lower sections of the one of the country’s best whitewater runs.
What’s up at Gauley Fest this year? Here’s Paddling Life’s primer on what to expect on river and off.
If youg ot game, Saturday night hit the Dagger booth. They’re having a dancing pole and are giving a kayak away to the best dancer. Unfortunately, they’re giving away a custom American flag-themed Nomad 8.5, prompting a thread on BoaterTalk to feel it will be a sausage fest (giving away a Nomad 8.1, they theorize, would entice more girls to get up and dance). Regardless, for every dollar a dancer earns from the crowd their name gets entered into the drawing. The money will be split 50/50 and donated to AW as well as a fund for Mike Parker, a local who recently got injured paddling. “We are paddlers so no need for nudity,” says Dagger’s Ken Houve. “But we do want to raise funds for these two causes and have a little fun. So come by and get some swag and maybe dance your way into a new boat.”
The festival will also feature live entertainment, a whitewater marketplace, lots of on river activities, and a silent auction where you can pick up gear.
Friday September 21, 2007
• Ladies on the Lower G begins at NARR: North American River Runners, Kokotat and Girls At Play is proud to present the “Ladies On The Lower G” to benefit American Whitewater. On Friday, 9/21/07, the women of these organizations will be hosting a paddle down the Lower Gauley River. Any woman who is comfortable paddling down the Lower Gauley, and would like to join some of the most influential women in the sport of kayaking, are encouraged to sign up for what promises to be a wonderful event. The $30 registration fee for the event includes shuttles, a hot lunch catered by NARR, and after-paddling drinks. There will be free schwag, a raffle and prizes! All net proceeds from the event will be donated to AW to help keep up its work protecting and restoring whitewater rivers across the country. To register for “Ladies on the Lower G” please call NARR at 800-950-2585.
• WaveSport Open begins at Pillow Rock: Wave Sport is excited to announce the 4th Annual Wave Sport Open! A friendly competition that embraces all paddlers, in all boats, the WSO defines the true meaning of playboating: a free form, no rules, no restrictions style that embodies the reason we all paddle…to be creative and have fun on the river in whichever craft we choose. 2007 Events include: Rolling Mass Start Race (Pillow @11:00, Lost Paddle @ 12:00, Sweets Falls @ 1:00)
• Volunteer Recognition Dinner: American Whitewater volunteers are welcome to join American Whitewater staff and board members for a thank you dinner. Volunteers will be treated to an all you can eat lasagna dinner at 6:00 in the festival site dining hall.
•Halftime String Band: As the sun starts to set the music starts to crank at Gauley Festival. Join us on Friday night for some classic blue grass music and dancing from the Halftime String Band.
•7 Weeks in Tibet: While the band takes a break we will follow an international team of 6 whitewater kayakers as they embark on a journey of a lifetime. Their challenging attempt to be the first to paddle the length of the PARLUNG TSANGPO river in Tibet takes them deep into the heart of the Himalayas. From there they have to survive an incredible 12 days on the river battling their way through huge whitewater rapids. Friendships, skill and nerves will all be tested to the limit. Movie premier will begin at 8:30 at the stage below the red barn.
Saturday September 22nd
Saturdays is the busiest day of Gauley Festival with all sorts of activities including:
• AW membership Drive: Join or renew your AW membership at Gauley Festival and get hooked up with a sweet bag full of goodies from American Whitewater’s partners. Every member will also be entered in a raffle to win one of several new kayaks.
•Silent Auction: The Gauley Festival silent auction is your opportunity to pick up some great whitewater and outdoor gear for a great deal. All the proceeds from the silent auction benefit American Whitewater’s river stewardship work.
• Music: Gauley Festival is as much about music as it is about boating. This year we have a great line up of music that includes:
o Halftime String Band: The Halftime String band has played at every Gauley Festival for the past three years. There mix of traditional and modern bluegrass music will get the music started this year. Check out the Halftime String Band website at: www.thehalftimestringband.com
o Anonymous: Every show is something new, something exciting, a work in progress on its own – with a different set list every night, the ever-growing originals, the new jams, and original twists on famous covers. The goal is to get everyone in the groove. They’ve got something to say, something to offer, and they want everybody to hear it, and to enjoy it. Check out the Anonymous website at: www.anonymoustheband.com
o Bucktown Kickback: BuckTown KickBack has blazed an impressive trail through the richly diverse Americana landscape from Ohio and the Midwest to Nashville, TN with their Alt.Country/Bluegrass/Folk-Rock originals. Headlining concerts and opening up for the likes of Alabama, Junior Brown, Railroad Earth, Todd Snider and Stacey Earle, Dudding and his band electrify listeners with their live performances and studio recordings, both showcasing intelligent songwriting and incredible musicianship. Here music and learn more about Bucktown Kickback at: >www.bucktownkickback.com