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Avalon's 3rd Annual Nude Folk Music Festival
Paw Paw, West Virginia
August 6, 7, 8, 1999
My wife and I attended the Folk Music Festival at Avalon this year and it was great. I heard someone say there were 500 people there on Saturday. I don't know if that is accurate or not but it is consistent with my guesstimate.
There was folk music on the stage on the front lawn from about 4:00 PM to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, and 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM Sunday. The lawn in front of the stage slopes gently down toward it to form a natural sort of amphitheater. It really is an ideal set-up. We sat on our beach chairs about 60 feet from the stage and slightly to stage right. Our view was great as we could easily see over those folks sitting in front of us. There was a nice crowd but there was also plenty of elbow room. Groups seated close to the stage were typically six to ten feet apart. Groups further back were slightly more spread out. I rely on an electric scooter to get around and I had no trouble at all negotiating my way through the crowd.
Speaking of the crowd, it consisted of a healthy mix of people from families to couples to singles of both sexes. As with my previous visits, I observed no inappropriate behavior. Avalon is a clothing optional facility, with nudity required only in the pool and hot tub. However, other than performers and staff, I'd say 98% of the crowd was nude. Interestingly, all of the crafts people were nude.
One thing we'll do next year is bring along a few short pieces of 2X4 lumber to put under the front legs of the chairs as we had a tendency to slide forward (downhill) all weekend. It wasn't a big deal, but after three days it got a tad annoying. I may bring a few extras next year and trade them for beer tickets ;-)
The roof that was recently added to the stage was designed well, and it successfully provided some much needed shade for the performers without impeding the view from the lawn.
The sound and lighting was run by professionals and it showed. The music was always crisp and clear - never too loud and never too soft. Those annoying feedback squeals that sometimes plague modestly-sized events were non-existent. Vocal/music mixes were very well balanced.
The talent on-stage was very good. Neither my wife nor I know very much about folk music, but we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Rather than run through the performers, let me refer you to Avalon's web site at www.avalon-nude.com. If you click on the 'Folk Music Festival' link in the upper right corner you can see who was there. I'll mention one just because we liked them. The group "Hot Soup" was very enjoyable and were what I would call "fun" performers. They joked easily between songs and otherwise carried on. Sometimes that sort of thing can be annoying but they did it well. Their songs were simple, clear, and, more often than not, funny. They performed a song that they written specifically about Avalon after their appearance there the year before, which was a nice touch. Another performer had a song specifically about Avalon also, though I forget who it was.
All the performers were very good. I'm not really qualified to review them due to my extensive ignorance of folk music.
Also, Sunday afternoon they had open mike from 1:30 to 3:00 or so. Almost everyone who took advantage of the open mike period performed nude. They were all pretty good. Unfortunately it started raining at about 2:30 and it was cut short.
We've been to Avalon many times and I must say I wasn't too sure how effectively they would be able to handle a big crowd. In fact, that is what has kept us from attending the Folk Festival in previous years. It turned out they did a first class job of it though - much better than I expected. Things ran smoothly. Lines for food and beverages were minimal. Prices were very reasonable. I was extremely happy to discover they had Saranac Amber on tap for $2 per 12 oz. cup. I made that discovery Friday afternoon and I suddenly knew it was going to be a great weekend!
The newly expanded pool deck really paid off with such a large crowd - not to mention the addition of fifty more lounge chairs. The pool was sometimes very busy during the heat of the day but it was never out of hand. Again, I ride an electric wheelchair and dense crowds are the worst thing for me to have to negotiate through, but I never had a problem at the pool or anywhere else all weekend.
In conjunction with the folk festival there was a crafts show all three days. There was a clothing booth that sold naturist oriented clothing such as pareos, mesh dresses, etc. The glass blower was a lot of fun to watch. I'm not really a crafts-type person, but it really was neat to see how he melted the glass and mixed colors to make designs and figurines. There was a ceramics booth with a dragon theme. I bought a coffee (or, in my case, tea) mug which had a dragon's claw clutching it and collapsing it from below. Very neat. There was also a guy selling some very nicely done tie-dyed shirts and other things, including underwear!
The 4th Nude Folk Festival is scheduled for August 13, 14, and 15 of 2000. Brenda and I already have a condo reserved!
This report is primarily intended to be a review of the folk festival, but here is some additional info gathered on our visits to Avalon:
Avalon offers condos, hotel rooms, and camping. During the folk festival we shared a one bedroom condo with some friends of ours. Two bedroom condos are also available. The units are only a year old and ours was absolutely sparkling clean. The quality of the construction is first rate. We were on the ground floor and I know there were people in the unit above us because we met them, but we never heard any floor thumps from above. We didn't hear any noise through the walls either. Brenda and I slept on the pull-out sofa bed, which we found to be adequate. Our friends took the bedroom, which they found to be very conmfortable. There's a built in A/C unit in both the bedroom and the living area so we were each able to control our night time climate to our own liking. The appliances were all new and of good quality. The kitchen was fully outfitted with pots, pans, utensils, dishes, etc. The only appliance we needed but wasn't supplied was a blender. Fortunately our friends had brought theirs along so a potential margarita disaster was successfully avoided!
We stayed in the hotel in May and it was clean and in good shape also. It is not as crisply new as the condos, but it is very well maintained. We've also camped several times and the campground is nice. The road through the campground is not paved and it does get dusty. They are currently fundraising to get it paved. The bath house is generally clean and well kept. There is a washer and dryer available there too. There is power and water available for RVs and there's a dump station on the property.
The new paved road from the new resort entrance through to the condos is a huge plus. Dust was minimal all weekend despite the current drought. Also, during the past month or so, West Virginia improved the road leading up to Avalon. It is now paved by a method they call 'tar and chipped.' The bottom line is the massive dust cloud that used to follow behind you is non-existent now, and the road is pothole free. When I pulled into Avalon this time, my van was still maroon instead of brown! I used to think everybody there just happened to drive a dusty brown vehicle.
Avalon also offers: two tennis courts, two petanque courts, horse shoes, two sand volleyball courts, hiking trails, a fitness trail, hot tub, library, La Belle Pomme restaurant (with excellent food), lounge/bar, and, of course, the pool. There's also a subdivision of two acre lots which is all clothing optional.
Handicap accessibility is above average for a nudist facility, but below average as compared to a textile facility. There is no officially marked handicapped parking; however, an enthusiastic and helpful staff will find a way to accommodate parking needs. Office, restaurant, bar/lounge, and campground are all easily accessible. Ground floor condos are accessible over one fairly small step at the doorway. Second floor condos are in no way handicapped accessible. Access into the hotel is also a problem. No ramps exist from the restaurant/lounge into the hotel hallway, nor are there ramps at any hotel entrance. Unfortunately, the same two rounded steps to the hotel from the restaurant/lounge are also an obstacle to accessing the rest rooms. The pool is accessible by a wooden walkway with roughly eight steps or over grass up a bumpy, rocky hill. For self-propelled wheelchairs this trip will be challenging for some, impossible for others. The good news is that once on the pool deck, there is plenty of room to maneuver. There is one large step up into the poolside bathrooms, which are spacious. None of the bathrooms anywhere on the facility contain handrails or handicapped stalls. There is no ramp into the pool, but there are two good, sturdy handrails down the steps into the large, three-foot deep shallow area. Floatation assistance is virtually always available (foam 'noodles').
I have no information on accommodations available for the deaf.
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