Happy birthday, Bob!

For the seventh year in a row, the Wild Goose Cafe Bar held a celebration of Bob Dylan's birthday. The Monday night event, traditionally one of the Wild Goose's busiest nights, showcased at least 20 performers and several bands, all dedicated to bringing to life the music of Bob Dylan.

"The event just keeps getting bigger," said event host George Clark, decked out in a Dylan wig, shades and a polka dot button-up. "It seems all ages learn on Dylan music."

The venue, covered in streamers, ribbons and Dylan LPs, hosted a diverse crowd, ranging from bikers to good ol' boys, the open mic bunch and college kids.

Equally diverse were the interpretations used by artists to capture Dylan's music. There was acoustic, big band, bluesy skronk, hard rock and even spoken word. The event started at 8 p.m. and, by 9, it was standing-room-only and the Goose was filled with scattered guitars, harmonicas and cigarette smoke blowing in the wind. 10, as the vibe and libation flowed on, folks were dancing around tables and singing loudly along with Dylan staples.

"I drove 400 miles to be here today," said Travis Pauck, returning from a 4 1/2 month road trip that took him through several states. "George's been telling me about this for a couple years."

"No one loves Bob Dylan more than George Clark," said poet and open mic host T-Poe, who paid homage to the renaissance man by performing "Wedding Song" and "All Over You" in his spoken word styling.

Dylan's influence on the Ashland art scene has always been apparent, but never more so than at this annual pilgrimage, where artists come out of the woodwork from as far as Portland to pay their respects.

"I think that celebrating Bob's birthday is a wonderful thing," said T-Poe. "Everyone looks forward to it all year. The poetry of his words is universal and people can still get as much out of them today as I did."

— — Dylan Fest: The Wild Goose Cafe Bar was adorned with Bob Dylan memorabilia on Monday night.

Local musician and open mic host Chris Parreira was among those to pay tribute.

"We're here celebrating Bob and all of the songwriters and musicians he inspired," he said. "I think that he's probably the most inspirational musician and lyricist in America's history and this (event) gives a sample of the amazing amount of work he's done and all the different ways of interpreting them."

Parreira, who has more than 20 Dylan songs in his cannon, performed "Cold Irons Bound."

In addition to more avant-garde performers, seasoned bands took the stage, as well. They included Penguins on a Rock, Bill Lawson with Gene Burnett, Larry Late-Night and other valley gems, as well as Clark himself giving the crowd the most dead-pan Dylan impression of all.

The Goose was thundering on all night as the crowd grew rowdy. the time the baby blue night was over, Clark had succeeded in his mission to remind people of the relevance of his hero.

"I think (Dylan) was thought to be a hippie rock 'n' roller, but he has shown himself to be a true Americana," said Clark. "And the music is very American, with its roots in blues and folk. Bob's longevity has become one of his strongest points, and that's why the stuff he does is still new and relevant."

And of the future?

"We're going to keep it going as long as Dal (Goose owner) lets us," Clark promised.

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