People have been asking if I've been on any trips, or when my next trip is. Actually I've done a number of trips, but for various reasons I haven't written about them. There have been several trips for hockey, but few of my readers have any interest in that. I've done a number of day hikes, but each one alone hardly seemed worth writing about. Perhaps I will combine several of those into a single report.
However, right now it's time to write about the 14th Annual Parkfield Bluegrass Festival. You can read about the town and see photos
here, with more stuff
here and here.
On the day of departure, Thursday, May 10, I had a retirement association
board meeting that would end about the time I wanted to get
underway. I got everything loaded the night before so I could drive the motor home to the meeting and get on the road as soon as it ended.
The meeting ended a bit earlier than usual so I was on my way about the time I would normally have left. The trip was uneventful other than a half hour delay due to construction just past Kettleman City, but that was a fairly dull event.
It looked like there were not as many people as usual when I arrived, but walking around the grounds on Saturday, all the camping areas seemed full. The weather has been close to too hot, but there is a good breeze most of the time and it's been comfortable sitting in the shade.
We have the usual mix of known and unknown bands, local, regional and national, some better than others.
In the category of pleasant surprises are two bands, one previously unknown to me.
Flats are from the Sacramento area, and are really a traditional country band. They perform with a lot of energy and fit into the bluegrass/old-time mode just fine.
the festival program, I recognized the name of the Darrell
Webb Band as one I had heard of, but was not sure I had heard
them. They are a very hard-driving young band from the southeast,
and were a big crowd favorite. As their web sit puts it,
"acoustic music with electrifying energy." As it turned
out I had downloaded their newest album over a year ago, so I was
lucky I did not decide to buy it at the event.
to these new (to me) bands, several favorites from previous shows
were on hand. The biggest name is the Special
Consensus, a group that's been in existence for 37 years, all
under the guidance of banjo star Greg Cahill, past president of the
International Bluegrass Music Association. The revolving cast of
supporting players and singers is always good.
Every bit as
good in my opinion is a quartet of California artists that have been
performing something like a total of 120 years or so. This group, Loafer's
Glory, was at Parkfield last year and is fairly new, but some of
the members have performed together for 30 years or more. I could
fill up several pages with their accomplishments, but if you're
interested, it's easy enough to find information on line.
rising above all others in my opinion, is Snap Jackson
& the Knock on Wood Players. I first saw them at the Brown
Barn Festival in 2009, and became an instant and enthusiastic
fan. Since then I've seen the group at least four more times, and
look forward to the next time, and their second CD which will be
The rest of
the show was the usual mix of OK to great. Red Dog Ash
deserves special mention - they are based out of Turlock, and have
been together a few years. They added a top level banjo player a
little over a year ago, putting them into the realm of good quality
festival bands, and have continued to improve. They have a CD available
weather was fairly good. It was warm from day one, and got a little
warmer, but I had shade on me nearly all the time during the music,
and there was a good breeze a lot of the time. Nights were cool
enough to put on a long-sleeve shirt and sweat shirt.
enjoyed the music, weather and people, I did not seem to have my
usual enthusiasm for this event. I have become somewhat spoiled
having my friend Janell with me at three of the festivals I've
attended the last two years, but she could not make it this time.
Even though I've attended the vast majority of festivals alone, it's
always more fun to share it with someone.
interest, plus some problems I have to take care of with the motor
home, caused me to do something I have never done before - leave
early due to something other than rain. I took a couple of photos of
the first group Sunday morning, but did not sit down to listen, and
was on my way home by 11 a.m.
Estel, May 2012