Every year, for the past 41 years, there has been the Orton Park Festival, and this year was no exception. Sunday was the day I spent time there, and here’s why. First, the weather was finally splendid, absolutely. The local to the Madison area Balkan-ic Reptile Palace Orchestra with fiery Anna Purnell in the lead will get everyone dancing in mid-afternoon. The set was wild, ecclectic and there was an array of moment in the crowd that would have made the Wachowski brothers re-think The Matrix. From there, The Fareed Haque Group treated a large crowd of smiling faces to some Jazz-infused ragas on Haque’s sitar as well as some spacey jams while playing guitar and accompanied by is group to just plain rock. You can tell that extensive travels, especially long stays in Spain, France, Iran, Pakistan and Chile, exposed Haque to different musics from a very early age, and these influences stuck. In 2001 Fareed co-founded the jam super-group Garaj Mahal, joined George Brooks’ group Summit, featuring Zakir Hussein and Steve Smith and continues to record and tour with the amazing Fareed Haque Group.
I also remember trying the same delicious local wheat beer twice….and now you know that too.