Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bluegrass 2015

Our town hosts a big music festival every year, with thousands of people coming to camp out, play music, and listen to musicians on the 4 official stages and endless music jams in the campgrounds. It is pretty amazing, but a little difficult to describe.  I first attended the festival in college and have been back most years since and my girls and I look forward to going all year long.

Yesterday we donned our tie-dye and headed out for a day of music and fun.
The festival is a laid back affair, with people wandering between four stages listening to bluegrass, folk, Western swing, Celtic, mountain, gospel, and other sorts of acoustic music.
We enjoyed a series of 16-and-under musicians... excellent Scottish group that played Celtic music, including an incredibly talented bagpipes player...
...the amazing Linda Tilton, who is a sign language interpreter and turns music into visual dance of symbols...
...and our favorites, folk performers Tom Chapin and John McCutcheon. We saw both of them perform individually, but it was especially fun to see them on stage together.
We listened and sang along on songs we knew and just enjoyed the music flowing everywhere.

There are all sorts of music and craft vendors at the festival, and we had fun exploring their wares, too.

Katherine was eager to check out the instruments for sale. The vendors could sense her interest and they encouraged her to take a try at playing. Kate was slightly hesitant at first, but couldn't pass up the offers. First she tried a hammered dulcimer, an instrument that is as physically beautiful as its sound. Even the wooden hammers are gorgeous.

Next she tried a ukulele.
After that, is was easy to talk her into trying out these fantastic wooden washboards!

They really were cool!
But what Katherine really wanted to try were the fiddles.
So she did.

She told the vendor that she loves playing classical music, and she does. But she is also totally fascinated by the fiddlers and the way they just jump into a music jam and play along. She knows she doesn't have the experience yet to play like that, but she wants to.

One of the best parts of the festival is just watching the musicians. There are people playing music everywhere!

We wandered out to the camp grounds during the afternoon. There are hundreds and hundreds of RVs and campers and tents crammed together in little camps. We even spotted this excellent throwback site.
We found Carp Camp, the group that played at our church, but they were mostly just sitting around chatting.

I spent time hanging out with some of my college friends, some of whom I only see at the festival. We still enjoy each others' friendship and now our kids have become friends, too.
Bluegrass weekend is one of the very best times of the year. It's when we see old friends and make new connections. Where we fill our ears and our minds with music. Where we fill up our buckets and soothe our souls. We had a wonderful day and, as always, we were a little sad to leave. But there is always next year!

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