Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dylan Fest Postmark Is A Fun Discovery

Well I ride on a mail train, babe,
can't buy a thrill...
--Bob Dylan
It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

This year the Duluth Dylan Fest adopted five additional activities in addition to the usual traditions of recent years. One of these was a postage stamp cancellation event. It's something Hibbing's Dylan Days had been doing for many years, marking each year with a special postmark locally designed and approved by the U.S. Postal Service. So on Saturday morning May 28 the USPS setup shop in the Historic Duluth Armory with an official representative there to cancel stamps and post cards that people purchased. John Bushey, host of the KUMD Dylan radio hour, did all the backstage info-gathering and negotiating to get all the paperwork established. I did the concepting and drew the artwork that was used for the "official" stamp. The original concept included a small profile of our native Son, but this had to be negated as a violation of one of the rules. No biggie.

This week I stumbled across a website called that collects a wide variety of geeky postmarks, including our Duluth Dylan Fest mark.  Postmark collecting is apparently alive and well. Galleries featuring art postmarks, First Day postmarks, event and commemorative postmarks, literary postmarks, military postmarks and more are all part of the site.

When concepting the art it seemed that a train theme is perfectly at home here. We have extensive train yards in this major port town. The annual Blood on the Tracks Express has become a Dylan Fest ritual that few want to miss. In addition, Dylan's album Slow Train Coming signified one of the many turnpoints in his career.

It was fun to make this contribution to the week's happenings. Strangely enough, we've already begun planning for 2017. We'll certainly welcome you warmly if you join us.

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Meantime, life goes on... I'll catch up with you at Hobo Junction. 

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