The Big Muddy Folk Festival is April 5 and 6. As I was going over the list of performers, one particular act caught my eye, The Alferd Packer Memorial String Band. That name sounds familiar. Where in the world have I heard that name before? As I Goggled the name Alferd Packer, it hit me. My mother use to sing me this song -In the Colorado Rockies, Where the snow is deep and cold, And a man afoot can starve to death, Unless he's brave and bold, Oh Alferd Packer, You'll surely go to hell, While all the others starved to death, You dined a bit too well. Not exactly a lullaby, but no worse than a Grimm Fairy Tale, really.
Packer was the only American ever convicted of cannibalism. In the fall of 1870, five miners in Alferd's charge headed for the Colorado gold fields. They ended up in Alferd's stomach! At the conclusion of the trial, the judge's words were, "Alferd Packer, you voracious man-eater, there were only seven Democrats in Hinsdale County, and you done et five of 'em." Was Packers crime of cannibalism an act of survival, or politics at its worst?
Now why would a group of musicians name their band after a convicted cannibal? I don't know, but I find it interesting. I think I'll ask them on Saturday night, or maybe I'll see them at the Big Muddy BBQ? (I know what you're thinking, but I'm not going there.) The BBQ is open to everyone and is delicious! All the food can be found at Turner Hall and they begin serving on Friday at 11AM.
There is truly an exciting lineup for this 22nd year of the Big Muddy, and almost all of them are new to the festival. Check out all the happenings and other performers at www.bigmuddy.org. Tickets can still be purchased by calling the Friends office, 660-882-7977 or going on their website, www.friendsofhistoricboonville.org. The Big Muddy Folk Festival is your chance to Play Local, Shop Local and Go Boonville!