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David Llewellyn

Folk Alliance Conference 2004 (continued)

The unfortunate dramatic sidebar to this year's event was the fire in Kari Estrin's Client Showcase room (Kari is a very talented manager and career consultant in Nashville, check her out at kariestrin.com). I got the story from Cheryl Duckett (houseconcerts.com) the following morning, and then on the plane from David Llewellyn, who was wrung out from the whole experience and from telling the story far too many times in the Terrace Restaurant.

Kari hosted a Southeast Folk (SERFA) Reception in her management showcase room, where David Llewellyn and Ralston Bowles were staying. Kari and David, who were co-producing the SERFA showcase in the main hotel that evening, had to leave their party early. When they realized how long the setup of the sound system was going to take, Kari went back to the room and grabbed a few things, and noticed a key left behind. She called David to see if he'd forgotten his key, but he said no, that it must be Ralston's, who was out doing some showcases of his own. Ralston stopped up to the SERFA Regional at some point and said he was tired and going back to the room. So when Kari and David got back later to drop off the SERFA gear, like 3 AM, it was assumed that Ralston Bowles was in the room.

When they got to the door, Kari reached for her key but found that she did not have it. So David slipped his key in the door, opened it slightly, then shut it immediately because he was hit in the face with a wall of smoke. He is Welsh, and comes from a family of coal miners. His father's cousin had once saved his family by doing a similar thing: by immediately shutting a door whose draft would have incinerated the building, he was able to evacuate his family first from the adjoining room where they were sleeping.

But as soon as David shut the door, knowing what was about to happen, he felt sick. Was Ralston Bowles in there? Kari pulled out her cell phone and called the fire department. David alerted the front desk from a nearby room, then desperately tried to find where Ralston actually was. continue