In just a few short days, Pendarvis Farm will start to fill up for Pickathon, and if you need something to pass the time between now and pitching your tent, look no farther than Pickathonography, Tim LaBarge and Patrick Barber's new book chronicling the first last five years of the storied music festival. Dominated by LaBarge's photos of past years' events, the book is also a compendium of essays and remembrances from LaBarge, the musicians who've played (from Captain Angus Bogg to Langhorne Slim to Chris Funk), and the music critics who've fallen in love with it over the years. (I'm not just saying the Mercury's Ned Lannamann's entry is the best one just because he's Ned. It is the best one.)

Full of adoration, the book is designed to get you itching for the festivities to begin, often drawing attention to how unique and pastoral Pickathon is compared to the usual festival scene. Here you'll find a huge effort being made to keep things clean and sustainable (there's to be no single-use dishes and silverware this year), there's nary a douchebag or menacing security guard in sight, and what's that? Oh just the farm's proprietress riding through the backstage area on a stunning white horse. Some of the musicians' pieces are overtly lyrical (see Slim's memory of when he "almost broke my neck watching a red-headed Gemini doing the Green Boogie in the Barn one night," for instance), others chummier (see Funk's chuckling account of how he accidentally shut down all the lights in the campground. All are rapturous.

Whether you've had a taste of Pickathon's charms (in which case you'd better scan the many crowd shots for your own mug) or you're itching for your inaugural experience, this is an awesome tease and keepsake. One can only hope that the good vibes will extend through the next five years to afford another heartfelt collection of testimonials.


LaBarge will be at Music Millennium at 7 pm tonight for a signing, along with the Fruit Bats, so swing on by for a copy. You can also buy it here or at the festival's merchandise table this weekend. See you there.