Friday, July 9, 2010
"Back in time" works as a tag line for this Festival. You hardly see a cell phone. And get this: People stake out their territory with their lawn chairs (I think we call them "event chairs" now) on Thursday or whenever they arrive, and leave them there for the duration. If you show up and find some vacant chairs, have a seat. When the owner comes 'round, you'll get a polite tap on the shoulder.
No fences, no gate volunteers, no hand stamps. Just a pleasant lawn shaded by elegant deciduous trees and the stately but modest Wheeler County Courthouse. Good food vendors, a couple of very impressive luthiers including Jayson Bowerman. Plenty of camping up by the fairgrounds. Sit and listen.
Last year we were invited by the host and founder, Jay Bowerman, to sit in with his group Quincy Street for a few gospel tunes, chronicled here.
This year we were asked to do the whole gospel show on Sunday morning.
A lot of the music you will hear there is pure. Period. But other stuff pushes out the boundaries gently in this way and that, making for delightful variety without losing the roots connection.
Add in a gospel scramble, workshops, a well-produced melodrama by the Fossil Theater Players and you'll be hard pressed to find a reason to get farther than earshot from the stage.
And one more word about this event. The philosophical underpinnings include a commitment to area bands. No big national acts are recruited or booked--It is July 4 weekend, and this is truly music of the people, by the people and for the people. And the music is good. Great Northern Planes. Misty River. And more.
Keep track here. And note the list of sponsors at the bottom of that page. Without them, and you know the rest.
Thank you Jay, Teresa, Carol, and many others for the Wheeler County Bluegrass Festival.
So you don't need to be struck by lightning while eating a cheese sandwich in sight of a Norman Rockwell painting to get it. It's Back in Time and you're there, 100%.