Thursday, September 3, 2009

a final look at the 1st newgrass festival.......

The biggest thanks for the 1st Annual International Newgrass Festival being held has to go to my buddy, Kenny Lee (Smith). A few minutes after I learned of the festival last winter I was on the phone with Kenny Lee, diggin' what he was telling me and mostly diggin' the idea that the festival was "all about Sam". Over the months we became friends via emails and phone calls and I was damned anxious to meet him in person! He is a big fan and longtime friend of Sam's, as well as being a bandmate in Duckbutter; and man, can he play a slide guitar! >g<

I advertised the festival over the months as much as I could and was kind of surprised that I wasn't garnering more interest...but after all, this was a first year festival and by the time most folks learned of it their vacation plans were probably set or they simply heard of it too late. I was excited about the friends that I knew were coming and if I didn't so well business-wise, at least I knew that a good time would be had! (and I far exceeded that expectation..>g<)

The fact that the festival was small enabled lots of folks to meet and become friends....the festival had a pretty intimate feel to it, while offering a fabulous musical lineup! The venue was sweet, and both John and Katie Ballance were excited about holding the first musical event on their land...they are used to holding events; John had built a motocross track and up to 13 races a year were held there. They were not familiar with any of the music, but they became big fans quickly after hearing what they had been missing! And I love the fact that they are interested in becoming a music/festival/concert venue as well. A finer young couple you will not find...and I look forward to working and hanging with them again next year!

John was concentrating and enjoying Act of Congress...

John and Katie...

The venue...

Sunrise through the fog...

Our camp during the sunrise. Lynn and I were the only people on the site at night the first two nights we were there...a new friend joined us on Wednesday night!

A beautiful Kentucky sunset...

Grace and Lynn and I were the signage crew...Grace's dad, Scott, quickly became a friend when he joined us on site on Wednesday night. He is a longtime Greyfox attendee who came to the Newgrass Festival with his vendor booth featuring ice cream/Italian ice and pretzels. Grace flew for the first time by herself to the festival and she also got her first truck driving lesson at the festival...>g<

Lucy is the kind of friend that you wish lived lots closer to you! She lives in Oklahoma, is a longtime friend of Sam's, and presents yoga classes at various festivals around the country. Her favorite festival, along with mine, is Greyfox.
I love Lucy... is where you can check out Lucy's gig. Her friend Pete, who came from Minnesota, played sweet quiet bass during the sessions...

I met John and Chas McBroom at Floydfest; John is the Production Manager and I do believe that Chas works there also. They came from Virginia as friends and customers, and after experiencing the festival with us, they became even closer friends...there was much giggling.

And my longtime festival buddy from Wisconsin, Maple Al, even was there! Al and I go way back, festival-wise, getting together at Mole Lake, Telluride, Rockygrass, and other smaller festivals here in Wisconsin. We were both glad that he took my advice and came to the Newgrass! He produces the best damned maple syrup there is...I prefer the Grade "B". >g<

Mary and Gregg Scott rode a train to the Newgrass Festival from California! Mary and I have been cyper friends for a few years now..we met because of our mutual fanship of Sam. It was a pleasure to finally meet her in person...we even kicked up our heels together!

These were the first folks to set up their chairs at the 1st Newgrass Festival! They were making sure...>g<

Raelan was my new dance partner! She is cuter than cute at seven years old and hung on for dear life while I was spinning her was the first time she had ever danced with a partner and she did lots of squealing with delight!

In conclusion...I can admit that I have never had more fun at any festival! The combination of a first festival "all about..." a musical hero and friend of mine and the fact that it turned out to be a magical musical historical event for everyone in attendance was damned near "over the top". Sam grew up just a few miles from the festival site and the crowd was filled with his family and old buddies, all who had come to help celebrate his musical talents and influence. (plus, we can't overlook the contributions of the other Newgrass musicians over the years...Curtis, Courtney, John, Bela, Ebo Walker, and Pat Flynn))I met alot of those folks were in on the Newgrass Revival beginnings, even including Sam and John's ex-wives, Liz and Kathy; who still are big fans. I met Hazel Johnson, whose husband Courtney was the original Newgrass banjo player, and who is herself a marvelous mandolin picker. I am damned proud of the fact that Lynn and I played a pivotal role in getting the festival off the ground, especially on-site; and I can't wait to do it again! I don't think that it's much of a stretch to predict that this festival will grow quickly to become one of the class festivals in the country.

Showing off our collector's t-shirts on the Monday after the festival....we were both glowing. >g<

Oh....does anyone recognize/know this lovely lady? She thanked me for "capturing her essence" in this photo...and I gotta' love a person with an obvious sense of humor that she possesses!

Damn...what a festival!!

Peace, David


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Anonymous said...

Mary and Gregg Scott are friends of mine too!
regiberry smiles across the miles!