Stop and listen to the music

Reuben Mees“I say hey man nice shot.”

That’s about all I could think to say about this weekend’s Woodshock experience.

“What a nice shot man.”

And granted, I got a nice shot of Richard Patrick rockin’ the stage at Zane-Shawnee Caverns. The lights and colors illuminating the outline of the national band Filter’s frontman were about as dramatic as any photo I’ve ever taken.

But it was that smoky layer of mist that brought back Patrick’s own words — repeated several times by the vocalist near the end of the Friday night set — about how fortunate we are to live in a place that isn’t dominated like his hometown of Los Angeles by deathly shrouds of smog.

Being out under the big blue sky and puffy white clouds, soaking up sunlight as the bountiful buzz of reality descended on a crowd of about 6,000 spectators is a pretty amazing feeling.

What irked me, though, was that for all of Patrick’s preaching about how cool it is to still have an environment to enjoy here in Ohio, they loaded up on their gas-guzzling tour bus and — after stopping just long enough to sign Logan County resident Bryce Alexander’s acoustic guitar — rolled out of town spewing the emissions they so claim to hate.

It’s sort of like the Al Gore “inconvenient truth” syndrome: Jet-setting back and forth to L.A. on a private plane as his Tennessee mansion continues to consume a whopping $30,000 a year in energy, all in the name of making a film about global warming to enlighten the rest of us in Middle America who humbly struggle to pay about $1,500 a year for energy.

The day after Filter’s departure, Kevin Holycross, who is one of the primary organizers along with birthday boy Tim Buchenroth, told me something I probably already realized. It doesn’t take an L.A. rock band to make Woodshock what it is. The two dozen or so other bands from various parts of West Central Ohio — Boba Flex, Legbone, Syn Theory, for example — and the general ambiance of the outdoor festival are the real draw for the motley crowd that has turned out for the past 12 years.

It doesn’t take a $15,000 enticement to get some band to roll through on a big ole bus laden with equipment to get hundreds of other musicians and artisans who live nearby to come together and have a festival. All it really takes is a vision and we have that right here in Logan County, Ohio.

Maybe if some of the big name bands realized that if they would stop long enough to listen to the music under a peaceful Ohio they, too, could look back and say:

“Now that the smoke’s gone
And the air is all clear
Those who were right there”
(can say)
“Hey man, nice shot.”

Reuben Mees is a staff writer for the Examiner. He can be reached at 592-3060, ext. 118 or via e-mail at