Alkali Flats

Loafer's Glory

Parkfield Bluegrass Festival 2012


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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. The Alkali 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.

Looking at 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.

In addition 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.

Of course, 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 issued shortly.

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 on line.

Overall the 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.

Although I 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.

This reduced 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.

--Dick Estel, May 2012


Photos (Click to enlarge; pictures open in new window) 


California Pearly Blue

The Alkali Flats Virtual Strangers
California Pearly Blue The Alkali Flats Virtual Strangers
Loafer's Glory Shane Kalbach, Snap Jackson, Brian Clark Eric Antrim, snappy guitar picker
Loafer's Glory Shane Kalbach, Snap Jackson, Brian Clark Eric Antrim, snappy guitar picker
Little Black Train The Get Down Boys Darrell Webb Band
Little Black Train The Get Down Boys Darrell Webb Band
Special Consensus LeRoy Mack 2012 Parkfield T-Shirt
Special Consensus LeRoy Mack 2012 Parkfield T-Shirt
See more Parkfield photos here
Related Links
The Alkali Flats Darrell Webb Band Special Consensus
Loafer's Glory Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players Red Dog Ash
California Pearly Blue Virtual Strangers The Get Down Boys
LeRoy Mack Little Black Train Parkfield Events
   Parkfield Bluegrass   
 The Get Down Boys

Shane Kalbach, Snap Jackson, Brian Clark

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Updated July 16, 2017