Prairie Home Companion: Shelburne Museum Concerts on the Green

{Side note: today is Labor Day (observed). Curious as to the history of Labor Day? Check out this blast-from-the-past post from PiP (2008!)}

As mentioned yesterday, summer is not over. It sticks around for a good three weeks in September. So let’s keep talking summer. What has been your favorite part of summer? The longer daylight hours, barbecues, farmers markets, outdoor concerts, swimming, sunshine, not wearing 10s of layers of clothing, cold drinks, better moods? As for me, I love it all. Summertime in Vermont is particularly beautiful, and on sunny, warm days, I want to be outside as much as possible. This summer I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful outdoor concert at Shelburne Museum: Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion Radio Romance Tour. (A huge thank you to my friend and fellow preservationist, Adam K, for bringing me along.)¬†

For starters, the Shelburne Museum has an absolutely beautiful setting looking to Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains.

The sun was setting as the show was beginning.

The sun was setting as the show was beginning. The picture doesn’t quite do the view justice…

I had never listened to Garrison Keillor, but knowing that he is a great American storyteller, I was intrigued (hello folklore and oral history!). And what could be an outdoor show on a beautiful Vermont summer evening with a friend? Precisely. What is Prairie Home Companion? It is a live variety radio show, written and hosted by Garrison Keillor, running (with some exception) since 1974. The show focuses on music, stories, and features such as Guy Noir, Private Eye and  News from Lake Wobegon.

A glorious sunset.

A glorious sunset.

Hundreds of people on the lawn.

Hundreds of people on the lawn.

The show was wonderful. Listening to these amazing stories, live entertainment, a radio show in person (as opposed to through the radio) was such a unique experience. Clearly, I’ve been missing Prairie Home Companion all these years. Garrison Keillor is brilliant, creating these ongoing stories for decades. There are many people who can tell a good story, but to hear someone who has what are essentially books in his head – that he’s written – and is sharing it live…wow. How many true storytellers have you heard in your life? I’m grateful to have seen this show live. And now I want to hear ALL of the Lake Wobegon stories. It reminds me of just how special folklore is in our cultures (and all cultures). Folklore represents traditions unique to certain set of people, idiosyncrasies, memories, beliefs, and treasures to that culture.

Close up on the stage.

Close up on the stage.

Have you heard or seen Prairie Home Companion? Who are your favorite storytellers?