Climax News


Here's the deal... This site originally had a message board, which was all-too-soon taken over by vicious scum-sucking spammers. So... the new plan is, you send me your bio information, news, etc., and I'll post it here, spam-free. OK?

Please send new contributions to:


Gib Sosman, 2/6/08

Hi Doug,

I clicked "News" at www.climaxfestival.com and got the page with the comments about the "vicious scum-sucking spammers", followed by Cordelia's letter, Larry's tale, etc, and it brought back some memories for me too.

Climax '84 was a little bit like "the sixties" in the sense of "If you can remember it, you weren't there." As with all events, especially long-past ones, remembrances vary- thank God [or deity of choice] we have those really wonderful recordings, which is thanks mainly to you (as is the whole Climax Festival series... just to remind everyone). Sad that so few photographs have surfaced- I don't know who, if anyone, took pictures, but it would be wonderful to see some.

Here's a couple from almost that same time, and the same location: of Janette with her ponies:



And in front of the sauna with Toby:


One story I haven't seen re-told is "The Search for Grandpa Sparks." First, some background: the Sparks family had farm(s) which had been in the family, just up the hill from Janette's, for generations, and Grandpa was the approximately 88-year old pariarch. I met him one day, months before the festival, when I saw, while standing on the little back porch at Janette's place, the one that overlooks the forest, meadow, and "Cricket Creek," as Jane Hoskinson called it, downhill- (Jane's place, where she lived with Laura Templet and Valerie Kelly and kids, was just up the hill path to the east, between Janette's place and the Sparks farm.)

That day, I was standing there looking down into the meadow through the thin forest below the house, thinking probably about firewood, which I did a lot, and out from the woods came one of the oldest old fellas I ever have seen; like something out of Middle-Earth he came, carefully carrying a little sack or container of something.

I thought I might be seeing a ghost. But I went over to say hello, and he told me he had been out to his hidden strawberry patch- wild strawberries that no one else in the world knew about, only Grandpa, and he was proud of that, and protective. His "Strawberry Fields" Stash, and he had probably never even heard of the Beatles. He gave me two or three of the sweetest strawberries, small but perfect, as if he were giving me rubies. Grandpa Sparks loved his strawberry patch, and I believe he knew those woods in that valley as well as his own face, or better, after almost nine decades of walking in them. Granda Sparks is most likely gone, (or else the oldest man in Kansas), but maybe his strawberry patch is still there, out in those woods somewhere. I like to think so.

The hillside to the left, or east side, of the meadow, and to the east of the house, Grandpa Sparks told me, had had dugout homes when he was a very little boy- he had spent his whole life there, so he was speaking of perhaps 1904 or 1905- when the very first settlers on that particular land stared to make their way.
He remembered dugout homes in that hillside, with people living in them, 80-odd years before our festival.

Well, you may recall that on one of the nights of the festival, Grandpa Sparks wandered off the family farm, and his son or grandson or other family members let us know, and various hippie-musician search parties were hastily put together and quite a few of us wandered around the area and in the woods and fields and shone flashlights all over and honked for him and called out "Grandpa!" into the dark forests.

The only real drama was everyoone's worry, because at some point, he was found, or rather, it seems he just came home, having been out for a stroll, and was fine.

And didn't he come over to the festival at one point, or was that a dream I had?

I'd love to hear other people's recollections of the night Grandpa Sparks was "lost".

See you in May if not sooner-



Cordelia Brown, 3/29/06

Doug, thanks for making this site, I have heard about this Climax Festival for years and I've never really understood what or where it was. Sorry to have missed it and I hope I can attend the new one in 'o8. I was in the area but I guess I didn't know the right people yet.

We now own the old Schnebel Farm in Jeff. County which is just across and up the road from the old '84 site...we would love to host a warm-up festival if folks have any interest.

I've heard rumors through the years that some folks from the '84 festival camped or parked at our farm too..would make sense. The picture here is of our front field (that's me on the tractor!) which is about five acres...and there are lots of woods too. It's fairly private...no houses nearby, just a road that runs along it. Our house is way back in the woods...you can even come use our outhouse if you're not afraid of crossing the creek.



Doug DuBois, 4/1/06

Cordelia, thanks for the message and offer. I don't have an event in me for this year, but a rehearsal get-together in '07 might be a good idea.

Yes, we did use the field by the road for parking in '84. I don't remember anyone camping there. There was concern that the field would be too soft for cars after all the rain, but it worked out.



Larry Carter, 3/21/06


Playing a wide variety of music styles on a wide variety of instruments with a wide variety of excellent musicians, while loving my day job coordinating the computer writing lab at Free State High School. Check my website for details.



The Brother-In-Law-From-Hell story

(I attended) all three (Climax Festivals), although in 1986 I just stopped in for the afternoon going from Lawrence to the Ozarks by way of the scenic route.

In 1983, I...uhh... Climaxed while on my way to a music retreat led by Paul Winter at the Lamma Foundation outside of Taos. It was that whole experience (including being too shy to record at Climax) that resulted in my switching from my previous path of Tenured-Liberal-Professor-of-Human-Relations-At-Some-University to my current path of Use-My-Degrees-to-Secure-Meaningful-Employment-And-PLAY-MUSIC. In short, Climax was my foreplay.

In 1984, I returned with the intention of recording. However, it was a VERY strange weekend. Remember how Friday night was filled with a foreboding presence, as if the Storm-Of-The-Season was out there watching, waiting to burst wide open? At that moment, I was several miles from the festival, driving around in the dark, completely lost.

By the way - I only know the second half of this story. Someone reading this knows the first half, so I hope you'll fill me in.

It was dark, and I was lost, so I stopped at a house to get my bearings. A friendly guy came out and gave me directions, so I was just walking back to my car when this BIG guy came roaring into the driveway on a BIG bike, dressed in Hell's-Angels-Standard-Issue, gunning his BIG engine and swearing at the top of his lungs. As he got off his BIG bike and came bellowing up the driveway, the friendly guy says to no one in particular, "Oh shit. It's my Brother-In-Law-From-Hell."


Brother-in-law-from-Earth: "What seems to be the problem, George."


Earth: What are you talking about George. What people!


At about this point, Hell notices me. I was dressed for the occasion in Mellow-Hippie-Standard-Issue, which is to say, I probably looked to him like a GoddamCommieFagPeacock.


Me: - Uhh... I just needed directions, so I'm off to my friend's house now. Thanks a lot. Bye...


Me: Uhhh...


Me: No, I'm just heading over to a friend's house for dinner and...


Me: Uh....


Me: Uh...


Earth: (Steps between us.) George! Stop it!

Me: (Stumbles to car, drives like the proverbial Bat-Out-Of-Hell out of hell.)


I wasn't really hurt because I was moving with the punch, and I eventually got to the festival and had a great time. But, no, between the Brother-In-Law-From-Hell and the Storm-Of-The-Season, I didn't record that year either.

However, I sat in on some great jams all three years. I remember in particular that first year, playing mandolin late at night in the school house while Marianne, Deborah, and... Jannette? Karen? sang song after song in gorgeous harmonies, complete with improvisational synchronized dance moves. And I remember playing music around the campfire with Leo Beier and others. Wonderful memories!

I'm looking forward to reconnecting and hearing the stories. Thanks, Doug. Great idea! Let me know how I can help.



Doug DuBois, 3/21/06

Oh great, Larry, now I have to *publicly* apologize for my poor memory! I do, now, remember the story of your ordeal trying to find Climax '84. How could I forget that? I don't seem to remember much from that year, though. I think all the weeks of preparation, exhaustion, and stress over the bad weather must have made me block it out. I don't remember taking *one* photo inside the recording studio in Janette's house (living room?). Did anyone else? I was only in there to record one track myself, and my mental image of what it looked like is long gone.

I do remember that Janette almost outlawed the possession of beer at the '84 festival, because she didn't want drunk people in her meadow. Perhaps that is somehow related to your story? I was unaware of the guy being turned away, and I don't know who had the guts to do it. I guess you were a very convenient target for a delayed assault.

Thanks for you offer of help. I'll take you up on that!



Rick Krause, 3/19/06

Still playing a lot of music in varied settings, (worship, celtic stuff, jams of various sorts); but much of the time it's with my two older girls, Katie and Ruthie, in our lil' family band complete with another guitar and upright player. We're doing a mix of stuff, ('cuz that's what we do), with more and more originals.... depending on the wind..... God's grace is good and i'm really grateful, for Karin, (my mate for going on 26 years, now!), and the girls we're blest with, (Katie-22, Ruthie-18, and Heidi-13). We're still in the health care world, and have folks live with us, that require some care. They become part o' the fam, real quick! It's definately an 'intergenerational household,' which, we believe, is a good way to be! I bid you peace til forever!

Jim Krause, 3/19/06

1984: moved to Lawrence, joined the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band.
1987: joined the Euphoria Stringband.
1991: recorded the cassette album "Down County Road 1045" an anthology of original songs.
1996-98: joined The 97th Regimental String Band, played fiddle, banjo and learned to play mandolin.
1999: recorded the CD "Going Up the Missouri: Songs & Dance Tunes from Old Fort Osage." Recorded "Way Out West in Kansas" with the Euphoria Stringband.
1999-2002: active in Cross Currents' Songwriters Circle.
2000: began playing fife.
2002: began teaching banjo at the Americana Music Academy.
2004: began studying rudimental style drum with Dylan Bassett.
2006: began teaching fife at the Americana Music Academy.
Currently: forming the Kaw Valley Fife and Drum Corps. Also editing "A New, Useful, and Complete System of Drum Beating" written by Charles Stewart Ashworth and published in 1812.


Gib Sosman, 3/19/06

Musically I've done a lot less than I hoped, due to life circumstances -- becoming a father, (Gabe is 12 now), building a sailboat, and other stuff. Back in 1987 I was awarded second place at Winfield in the National Mountain Dulcimer Competition; in 1989 I was honored to win first. I haven't played with any "real" bands over the years... just many jams, various volunteer performances, a few weddings. In 1986 or '87 I had the privilege of meeting Bill Monroe, and opened for him and The Blue Grass Boys, at the Ottawa Municipal auditorium, with Beth Scalet.

Around 1992 I made an album on cassette, called "Unusual Music". (I still have lots of tapes, if anyone would like an original.) I plan to put it on CD and also on line as mp3 files in the relatively near future.

I also did an experimental CD called "The Four Invisible Gypsies" — the four gypsies meaning myself, with up to four tracks combined per song. It's all instrumental music. I only made a few discs of this "album", but can copy it for anyone who would like one.

For the past year or two I've turned more to filming music and trying to learn the basics of digital video and DVD creation. The latest work-in-progress is a two-part amateur documentary film (2 DVDs) entitled "Music From the Campgrounds", assembled from videotapes I made at Winfield in 2005.

Essentially, the only other performing I've done in recent years has been to play music for the residents of Vermont Towers every two or three months, with Tim O'Brien (not the Hot Rize Tim), Matt Kirby, Gloria Throne, and Tom Bogardus, or some combination of same.

Here's to a successful and dynamic reunion of the Climax Festival — only 2 more years! Waah.


Doug DuBois, 3/19/06

I took up the fiddle in 1990, traveling frequently to West Virginia and North Carolina for inspiration. I learn and play mostly hoedown tunes for barn dances, because I suck at other styles. Founding member of Euphoria Stringband, recorded the album "Livin' in the Free State" in 1992. I currently play dances with Euphoria Stringband, Altamont, and Bob & Melissa Atchison. When someone is playing a tune I don't know, I'll usually play banjo-ukelele.

Operated Harmony Hall, Lawrence's first smoke-free music venue, for one year (1992-1993). It was under-funded and ahead of its time, and I knew it. But it was worth a try and we had many wonderful concerts in a great venue for that one year. (Now Lawrence has a smoking ordinance, so we can enjoy performances within the city limits without breathing poison and going home smelling like an ashtray.)

Two great passions have competed for my time for many years: playing music, and building/flying airplanes. It seems that one or the other will dominate for long periods of time, to the great detriment of the other. These days I'm playing more music and am happy about that.

To pay for my play, I've been a machinist, engineer, industrial designer, and aircraft builder/technician. I'm currently starting a new job in the Product Development dept. for Amarr Garage Doors in Lawrence. I'm also a partner in Adventure AirSports in Ottawa, KS, where we tow gliders up with a tow plane and give hang gliding instruction (www.adventureairsports.com). Hence the "airhead" self portrait below ;)

I'm also getting into art -- something I've wanted to do for years -- doing life sculpture (body casting) with my partner Alan Webster (www.essensualsculpture.com).

Looking forward to getting the gang together, seeing friends I haven't seen in years, and meeting new friends!




Bayliss Harsh, (revised 5/10/08)

In the last twenty five years, music and dance have continued to be a big part of my life. Doug and I both feel that one of the best things about all this music-making and dancing has been the people we've met and friends with whom we've shared these good times.

It's fun to reflect what's gone on in the last quarter century of our lives. Dancing is my favorite thing, and these past years I've enjoyed contra and square dancing at the Lawrence Barn Dance Association monthly dances (begiun in 1982), the Kansas City contra dances, Kimmswick Dance Weekends in Missouri, and square dancing in West Virginia at the Appalachian Old Time String Band Festival. As Doug loves to play old time music for the community dances (those barn dances, square dances and contra dances), we've enjoyed our involvement with that activity in Lawrence and elsewhere. I clogged with the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band and Euphoria String Band, often dancing with the fleet-footed (former) Mayor of Lawrence, Mike Rundle. We were known as Belle Zonnertoes and Justin Time when dancing with Euphoria.

We used to go to Winfield every year, camping out with some of the Lawrence Climaxians, Since 1990 Doug and I have gone most years to Clifftop, West Virginia, to the Appalachian Old Time String Band Festival. The best old-time musicians in the country gather to camp out and play music all day and night. There are square dances, concerts of the Old Masters (the older traditional banjo and fiddle players from the southeastern US), and lovely times hanging out in the relatively temperate mountains. That's a welcome respite from the heat of August in Kansas. A special year at this festival was 1996, when all of Euphoria went to Clifftop in Moonbeam, the big white bread truck-turned-bandmobile. We entered the non-traditional band contest. The band did a reggae version of Sail Away Ladies, while I accompanied them with an interpretive dance. We were shocked to win 2nd prize-enough money to pay for gas for the entire trip! Doug and I have also been to the August Heritage Center in Elkins, WVA, for week long music and dance workshops.

I played bass for awhile in the 1990s. With my friends Patirck Kingsbury (fiddle) and Byron Wiley (guitar), we formed the Flint Hill Billies. We played for some dances in Topeka, Manhattan, and the Lawrence Family Dances.

I am looking forward to visiting with old (and new) friends and hearing great music at the Climax Festival Reunion. It's particularly wonderful that some people are coming from far away to be with us-thanks so much to you all for coming back to Kansas!



Mickie Alberding, 3/18/06

I'm still singing with friends and I would love to play more on my dulcimer. I get inspired every once in awhile. Mostly I just love being around music.

Keith Alberding is still playing with Bluestem, a group that has been playing together since 82 when we moved to Lawrence. They are in Wisconsin this weekend and they will be playing at Winfield in September. Music has been at the center of our lives all these years and there probably isn't a day that goes by without stroking one of the instruments or listening to one of our friends play.
25 year reunion sounds good, that's how old our daughter Lindsey is now.


Scott Stuewe, 3/17/06

Thanks for getting in touch Doug!

25 years - Yikes. Since Climax? Got Married, had two daughters, went to New England, had a successful rock-string-swing dance band called the Sundogs (AKA Craig Eastman and the Sundogs)- played for about 4 years. Bought a handbuilt Nickerson arch-top acoustic electric for playing in the band.

Returned to KC in 93 and started working for Cerner Corporation (health-care software) - still working there today... Moved three times for the company since 93, but we are back in Kansas City in Fairway.

Lately, been writing and composing using my computer studio and Ableton Live - recently bought a James Goodall flat-top for finger style...

Still writing and playing a fair bit, but havn't performed to speak of since 93 when I did a show or two with Marriane, Leo and Craig Lagerman.

It would be great to see this whole group - would love to harmonize with Rick and Marriane again... and wonder if Barger would make the trip. Havn't seen Bruce Barlow since the late 80's... and Mr. Lagerman is elusive. I have lost track of him. Any line on Craig?

Hope to make it...


Gloria Throne, 3/10/06

I'll look to see if I have photos, but I don't recall any. I hope I can make it to the reunion. We are preparing for the 50th annual KS Folklore Society Meeting - March 31 and April 1. Let me know if you want more deatails - Acoustic (of course) Jam session Friday night March 31 at CedarRidge Restaurant - also dinner at 5:30 or whenever you get there - 6 miles north of ATchison, KS. Write me for more info.........presentations all day Saturday at the Atchison Heritage Center. Best whishes to all!
~~~~~~~~gloria throne 816-579-9525


Myrna Campbell, 3/20/06

Hi Gloria! I've thought about you through the years, especially because you're in my address book so when I see your name I think about meeting you in Climax. I remember you especially because you knew a third verse to "hey sweet mama, tree-top tall" -- something about bread...? Please let me know that verse because I didn't write it down & can't remember. Hope to see you in 2008! P.s. The folklore thing sounds interesting.


Gloria Throne, 3/20/06

Myrna, as I recall you were from Witchita-still there? Send me your email address. "Oh sweet mama treetop tall won't you kindly turn your dampers down. I can smell those hoecakes a burnin honey-they gonna burn plumb brown
(-with a dominiec rooster and a shanghai hen.............)
(-I ate so many rabbits I been hoopin all around......)
memories got the best of me-I know those lines are in there, but I can't remember the rest right now...........good hearing from you! gloria


Jay Brown, 3/4/06

Wow! What a terrific idea, Doug - and thanks so much for the downloadable music cuts. I lost my copy of the 1983 Climax music festival tape years ago, and have been whining about the loss since. Now I can stop my whimpering and start listening again.

It's going to be hard to wait until 2008. . . .

Cheers to all!