May 4, 2005: If I believed in signs and portents and other mythical baloney, I
might think someone does not want me traveling with my trailer.
been rained on at the last three bluegrass festivals I attended Ė
in February, and Parker AZ in March. Now Iím at Parkfield, with
clouds overhead and possible showers and thunderstorms in the
last festival, in Parker, I had two flat tires. As most of you know,
ten days after I returned from that month-long trip, my father
passed away in
AZ, so I returned there by plane to drive their car and my mother home
(she does not drive).
end of March I went on a two day camping trip up the
with my grandson Mikie. When we arrived home, I discovered that a
bolt holding the trailer suspension had broken, allowing the front
and back tires on one side to rub against each other, and bending
the suspension spring on the other side.
the trailer in for repair was an adventure in itself. I had to hitch
it up and drive up onto a long flat bed truck from the tow company.
The truck and trailer were then hauled to the repair facility, where
I backed the trailer down off the truck. I was not sure I would have
it in time for this trip, but it was ready a week before my
make things interesting during my last two days of getting ready, my
home computer acquired a virus and a spyware infection. Getting rid
of the virus involved uninstalling and reinstalling my virus
program, downloading and installing two additions to it, and
downloading and running a repair tool program. This got rid of the
virus, but not the other problem, so I downloaded and installed an
update to my spyware removal program. I was able to remove part of
the problem, but I still had one bad file when I left home this
enough of that Ė on to the 2005 Parkfield Bluegrass
Festival. This is the second annual Parkfield Festival, but the 5th
one I have attended at Parkfield; previously it was the
festival, which I believe started in 1999.
I left Fresno
today for the 100-mile drive, and arrived here about . It was warm and cloudy, so I nervously watched the sky while I
sweated getting everything set up.
the promoter, is a great guy, but not very well organized. I was
talking with him and he asked me if I would help him set up a canopy
over the ticket table. I agreed, and went back to my trailer to do a
couple of my own set-up jobs first. When I returned, he was nowhere
to be seen, so I asked his wife to have him give me a holler when he
was ready, and continued setting up my own camp.
went over to the front entrance again and found him working with the
people setting up the sound system. He said he was ready to get
started, so we got the framework put together. Then he had to go to
his trailer, about a quarter mile away, to get the tarp. Soon he
returned, but without the tarp; he brought a fire barrel to someone.
Then he went back to get the tarp. Soon his vehicle returned, with
the tarp, but with someone else driving, so we waited some more, not
knowing how to put the thing together.
finally returned, the people setting up the sound had questions for
him, and he finally told us to go about our business, and he would
let us know when he was ready to finish the canopy. I went back to
my trailer and had lunch, and when I went back out front, luckily
most of the work had been done. I did help unload some of the sound
equipment and related items, but I was then able to fix a drink, sit
down, and relax.
May 5, 2005: The rain started around
I have electric power, something almost no one else here in RVs can
say. I ended up camped right next to a pump, which has an electrical
outlet and water hookup. My next door neighbors were also able to
get connected, so I guess this is the upper class area of the
May 6, 2005: The rain finally stopped for a while about 11 yesterday. I went
for a drive up the road that goes over to Coalinga. It turns to dirt
about eight miles out of town, and in wet weather is impassable, so
I turned around there and came back. I have to confess that I started up that muddy road,
because it didn't look that bad. However, the dirt there has a
composition that instantly turns slick when it gets wet. After just
a few feet I realized I needed to turn around. Then I realized I
should just go in reverse very slowly back on to the pavement, and even doing
this, the truck slid around a bit (see photos below).
It is very pretty country. The
broad valley that holds the town narrows down, and there is a flat,
lush creek bottom with brown hills rising abruptly about 40 feet
from the stream. There are some yuccas in bloom, and overall it was
a nice drive.
rained off and on a couple more times in the afternoon. The music
was supposed to start on Thursday, but there was very little of
that. Did I mention that the promoter is disorganized? He did have
two groups play from the porch of the Parkfield Inn, without sound
amplification. (5/06 update:
The 2006 festival was very well organized; everything started on
time. Third time's the charm.)
this time it started raining again, very lightly at first. I
wandered over to the stage area about 7 (a half hour after the
scheduled start of the evening show). They were testing the sound
system, but no one was in the audience and it didnít look like
anything was happening. After I returned to the trailer, it started
raining hard, and kept it up until I went to bed about 10:30, so I
donít know if there was an evening show or not. My guess is no. At
times the rain was so hard I could not hear my TV over the sound of
it pounding on the roof.
morning is sunny with some clouds around, and a breeze that picks up
now and then. Weíre just hoping it will blow the storm somewhere
friend Janell, who I worked with at the Welfare/Social Services
department for a number of years, will drive over this morning to
join me. It will be her first bluegrass festival.
May 8, 2005: The music got started "only" two hours late on Friday, but the show
was good. Janell arrived about , so didnít miss much. She enjoyed the location and the music and
the people, and ended up buying three CDs from some of the better
show was only an hour late on Saturday, and almost on time on
Sunday. The best groups, as expected, were the best known, all of
which I had seen before Ė the Witcher Brothers, James King, and
the Fox Family. The Fox Family, from upstate
by way of
Nashville, were terrific at Mariposa in 1998 and 1999, terrific here last
year, and sensational this year. James King, one of the very biggest
names in bluegrass, was also great.
youíre waiting for the festival dates to arrive, or waiting at the
site for the music to begin, it seems to take a long time, but once
it gets going, it goes very fast. Itís all over, Sunday night at
7, and I will be staying tonight and trying to get an early start
tomorrow. We didnít have any more rain until a very brief shower
almost at the very end of the show today, but the sky is
threatening. Iím hoping for no rain, since we donít need any
more mud, and hitching up the trailer in the rain would definitely
be a pain in the butt.
May 16, 2005: There was a little more rain during the night, and even a few
misty drops while I was getting ready to go, but nothing too bad.
There was lots of mud on the trailer and pickup, however. It
sprinkled off and on all the way home (and if you live in the west,
you are aware that itís still doing that, right up through this
the trailer unloaded and took it to the storage lot, and got busy
catching up on things and listening to the CD I had bought.
ďticketsĒ to a festival near
in June, but I have nothing to show for it; they just wrote my name
and address on a piece of paper, and said they would notify the
promoter. Knowing how disorganized the Parkfield promoter is, I
think Iíll send an Email to the
folks if I donít hear from them in a few days (5/29/06 Update: I
never was able to get these tickets that I "won," and
heard from a friend that the festival might not have happened at
all). Meanwhile, Iím also enjoying a Rhonda Vincent DVD I ordered
on line a while back, something I can do without having to sit in