Sunday, September 21, 2014

Festival Time

Yesterday we made our yearly trek to the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival, where we spent the day listening to music and seeking shade, along with 10,000 of our fellow festival friends.
Tie dye is VERY popular at the festival, so we always wear our rainbow brightest. The girls had new tie dye shirts this year.

I have been to "Bluegrass" for most of the past 20 some years in all sorts of weather - hot, cold, wet, windy, and the rare perfect day. This year was a hot year. A steaming, sweaty, miserable 94 degrees. We drank a lot of water and snacked on anything cold.

But we don't go to the festival for the weather. We go for the music. Lots and lots of music. There are four stages of musicians playing non-stop from 9:00 AM to midnight. And it's not just bluegrass music. There is folk, celtic, western swing, gospel, and assorted combinations - anything that can be played on acoustic instruments. Yesterday, I heard the Hallelujah Chorus played on guitar, Charlie Parker jazz on a fiddle, and more than one Beatles song on whatever instrument was at hand! My personal favorites are John McCutcheon, the marvelous singer/songwriter/story teller/folk musician,
and the celtic music. There was a celtic group with the goofy name Socks in the Frying Pan who were straight from Ireland and were quite entertaining. They were rather astounded by Kansas heat!
Seeking some shade in the afternoon, we left the festival proper and wandered into the campgrounds. It didn't take us long to find Carp Camp, a loose group of musicians that share a love of traditional celtic music. They set up a big tent and invite anyone who wishes to come and play with them, or just sit and listen. We sat for an hour just watching in awe, as various people wandered in and out with instruments in hand. They'd listen a moment and then join in the jigs and reels (and an impromptu Yellow Rose of Texas) without any music or often even the name of the tune. It was wonderful!

My parents and sister were there, and we saw lots of friends. We had a good time just hanging out together.
And despite the heat and the dust and the sweat, it was clear that the music was good for all of our souls.


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