Annually held the last weekend in July since the 1970's, Bele Chere ranks as the largest free music and arts in the southeastern United States. The festival attracts something like 350,000 people to Asheville, North Carolina. This summer my daughter and I once again joined those masses.
Our primary draw is the 6 stages of diverse musical offerings, but we also peruse the arts and crafts vendors, often making a few purchases and play some games. Here the daughter tries her skills at the Wells Fargo Stage Coach adventure.
Before taking on the crowds, we fortified ourselves with brunch at a favorite eatery, Sunny Point Cafe in West Asheville on Haywood. Sunny Point serves consistently good food at reasonable prices and their wait staff is alt eye candy. They sport detailed and colorful tattoos, interesting hairstyles and hair colors and the dress code is decidedly not uniform.
The klezmer sound reeled me in and we soon decided our favorite band that Saturday was Sirius B. Billing themselves as absurdist gypsy folk funk punk. It’s the band’s gypsy-infused violins (they have two), European street sensibilities, world-traveled tunes and multiethnic lineup that warrant comparisons to New York City gypsy-punk icons Gogol Bordello.
Sirius B, however, isn’t planning to follow in Gogol Bordello’s footsteps. Instead, the group considers its sound a happy accident. “Fusion would imply intention, that’s my impression,”says the guitar player Xavier Ferdón. “Absurdist” is one description they’re comfortable with—which is fitting with lyrics like, “Your aunt was a microbe who lived in a bathrobe. She’d wear it night and day.”“This is more our own thing,” the guitarist states, “flavored with various elements.”
Since winning a third-place mention as one of a local paper's readers’ favorite as-yet unknown bands, it’s obvious people want to listen to them and so did we.