Lodge summer concert series features bluegrass bands
By Lauren Sarner, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, August 10, 2012
Moosilauke Ravine Lodge is an iconic staple of Dartmouth that conjures a similar image for many students — hyper, colorful-haired Lodj Croo members serenading unshowered, overwhelmed freshmen during Dartmouth Outing Club First-Year Trips. Beyond playing host to Trips over the summer, Moosilauke Ravine Lodge also serves as a concert venue.
Each summer, Moosilauke Ravine Lodge hosts a concert series featuring local bluegrass bands. This summer’s concert series features the bands Reckless Breakfast, who performed on Aug. 2, Tumbling Bones, who performed on Aug. 7, and Crunchy Western Boys, who will perform Aug. 14.
Reckless Breakfast started just after band member Rory Gawler ’05 — who is Dartmouth’s assistant director of outdoor programs — graduated, in the response to the then-DOC president’s request to put together a band for the DOC spring weekend.
“I grabbed a couple people, threw a band together,” Gawler said. “It was a heck of a lot of fun,”
Reckless Breakfast’s membership changed in its early stages as original members graduated, but its current lineup has remained consistent over the past few years.
Max Deibel ’14, a frequent visitor to Moosilauke Ravine Lodge and one of the summer chairs of Cabin and Trail, recently attended the Reckless Breakfast concert and described the band’s music as “upbeat bluegrass.”
Reckless Breakfast performed songs ranging from their own creations to covers of contemporary pop songs in a bluegrass style, Deibel said.
Gawler has played at other venues in the Upper Valley, including the Lebanon Opera House and Tupelo Music Hall, but said Moosilauke Ravine Lodge provides the optimal concert-going atmosphere.
“As a musician, when you’re playing to a roomful of people quietly sitting in their seats, it’s not as much fun as when they’re up and dancing.” Gawler said. “It energizes us, and there’s a positive feedback between us and the audience.”
Samantha Reckford ’13, who said she may hold the record for the most visits to Moosilauke Ravine Lodge in a single season, attended the Reckless Breakfast and Tumbling Bones concerts.
“The fun thing about dancing at the lodge is its really un-selfconscious,” Reckford said. “There’s no posturing — girls trying to be sexy or guys trying to be cool. It’s more of a joyful expression.”
Reckford added that the audience at the Reckless Breakfast concert was particularly enthusiastic, perhaps because many of the members are alumni.
“They sort of had to forcefully tell us to sit down,” she said. “We danced forever and kept shouting ‘more songs, more songs!’”
Concertgoers also danced at Tumbling Bones’s Aug. 7 show, though the vibe was slightly mellower, according to Ariana Sopher ’14.
Tumbling Bones is a traditional American folk band and has toured in Copenhagen and Berlin. They have previously performed in One Wheelock.
The band members played Frisbee with students prior to the concert, Sopher said.
Gawler said that lodge concerts are a way for students, staff, and community members alike to join together in a low-stress environment.
“I’m not an avid music fanatic,” Sopher said. “But I do really like bluegrass and the lodge environment just makes everything better.”
Reckford said that Moosilauke Ravine Lodge’s Concert sweries offers an alternative to the music performances typically found on campus.
“I’d like it if music was a more visible aspect of campus,” Reckford said. “Music here seems to be literally underground — in frat basements or in One Wheelock and Fuel.”
This is the third consecutive year that the concert series has run, according to Gawler.
“We thought it would be fun to have music at the lodge, just as an opportunity to celebrate that space and use it,” Gawler said.
In addition to taking advantage of the space, Gawler said he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to get students to come to Moosilauke Ravine Lodge during the week.
“Everyone goes to the lodge during freshman trips,” Gawler said. “But it’s very high-key, very different. The lodge is quiet and peaceful and lovely.”
Deibel agreed that the space takes on different meaning.
“There are probably a lot of people that don’t realize the lodge is open as a social space aside from trips,” Deibel said.
Moosilauke Ravine Lodge can cater to all kinds of concertgoers, Gawler said,
“This is a great way to see that kind of music and get people up there,” he said. “That main room in the lodge just has this energy to it. I often describe it as a magical place.”
Aside from all the dancing, concerts at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge also offer a home-cooked meal and board games. Moosilauke Ravine Lodge is open every day during its open season from May to October.