Parkfield Bluegrass 2018

  

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The Parkfield Bluegrass Festival started in 1999, under the name Camp Rude Bluegrass Festival. I was attending another May festival in Mariposa in those days, and did not go to the first two Parkfield events. Since then I have missed only one. This year was the 20th, and maybe my last one. But that's a decision for later.

In the last few years it has been necessary to make reservations for an electrical hook-up the day they are announced, and overall attendance has increased annually for the last few years. This year it was hard to find enough space for everyone's lawn chairs, and camping space was nearly full.

The first day of the festival always falls on the day of our retirement association board meeting, and previously I attended the meeting and then left Fresno about 10:30. This meant the music was getting started by the time I got parked and set up, so this time I skipped the meeting and got an early start. I had about an hour and a half from arrival time till the first band went on.

Every year there have been a couple of groups I was not familiar with that that really stood out and became new favorites. Probably the best this year was the Sonoran Dogs from Arizona. They were actually at Parkfield in 2015 but apparently did not make much of an impression on me; I didn't even mention them in my report. This year I rated them the number two band at the festival, behind only Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, making their third appearance.

Several other bands new to me were in contention for "not previously heard but amazing." Echo Mountain, an old-time music group from southern California was excellent, as was another band playing a similar style, Molsky's Mountain Drifters. This band is apparently famous in bluegrass and old-time circles, but I had not heard of them. FY5, another Colorado band, was very good, as was Phil Salazar and the Kin Folks. Phil appeared at the first four or five Parkfield festivals, but I did not recall much about him. He's a first rate fiddle player with a pretty good band.

Another returning band also got high ratings from me. AJ Lee and Blue Summit is led by Ayissa Lee, who I first saw at Brown Barn when she was about 11 years old. Her voice was amazing then, and now at age 20 she has developed a mature sound that makes her a standout. It does not hurt that her band includes Sullivan Tuttle, one of the hottest young guitar players in the state.

The rest of the groups fell into the good not not great category. Perhaps the most famous artist there was Missy Raines, performing with two other musicians as the New Hip. She has a beautiful voice, but the music this group is doing is way beyond bluegrass. It was skillful and interesting, which does not mean enjoyable.

For the first time since 2009, after eight consecutive appearances, the line-up did NOT include Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players. This was moderately disappointing, but I've seen them at least a dozen times, so I guess I will survive. However, a couple we met at our first Parkfield event, Rad and Tele Spurlock, were there as usual. We started chatting at the 2001 festival when they asked about my grandson Mikie, who was folded up in a little wagon sleeping, and my daughter and I have kept up with their family as they have with ours. Tele has experienced some recent health problems and is undergoing treatment, but she was in good spirits and carrying out her usual volunteer work fixing and serving food for the bands.  

The weather cooperated this year - not too hot, no rain, and very cool in the evening. Friday morning it got down to 37 degrees at 6 a.m. Thursday afternoon was a little warmer than I like, but it cooled off the next three days  A worrisome overcast Saturday and Sunday mornings cleared off by mid-morning.

You may have noticed from my other travel reports that hiking is always included, even if the main purpose is camping or bluegrass. What I do at Parkfield is not really hiking, but I do manage to get in a mile or more of walking each day. The location is a flat valley, so the only up and down is on the steps of the motor home. The first morning I walked to the rodeo grounds and around the far reaches of the boondocks camping area, a walk of .84 miles. The next day I walked around the streets close to the stage, but kept my walking app on throughout the day. Adding all the times I go back and forth from camp to the stage, I got in 1.15 miles. The final morning I did my now traditional walk to a bridge north of town on the Parkfield-Coalinga Road, a round trip of 1.71 miles.

I had decided to head home after breakfast, having already seen all the groups scheduled for Sunday. Of course, I don't rush. Walking, eating, washing dishes, and getting things ready to travel put me on the road home a little after 11 a.m.

Unfortunately, I like camping in my motor home a lot more than I like driving it, and I'm not sure I will take it on longer trips any more. I'd like to attend a couple of other California festivals at least once more (Good Old Fashioned in Hollister and Summergrass in San Diego County), so we'll see what the future brings. 

--Dick Estel, May 2018 

     

Photos
(Click on the thumbnail to open full size photo; pictures open in a new window)
 
Travel bag Promoter/MC Dave Schwartz Parkfield 2018 Program Cover
 
Bean Creek Goat Hill Girls Echo Mountain
 
Sonoran Dogs FY5 Missy Raines & the New Hip
 
Honeysuckle Possums Phil Salazar & the Kin Folk Jeff Scroggins & Colorado 
  
Molsky's Mountain Drifters Amber Cross Band AJ Lee & Blue Summit
 
Sunset clouds The old Shell water tower, now a rental cabin Woodpecker on the valley oak
 
Scenes along Coalinga-Parkfield Rod north of town
   
Fence and hills along Coalinga-Parkfield Road
   
Flowers near the edge of town The green bridge (from 2016) Lonely Heartstring Band (from 2017)
  
 
Related Links
   
Bean Creek Goat Hill Girls Echo Mountain
The Sonoran Dogs FY5 Missy Raines &  the New Hip
Lonely Heartstring Band Honeysuckle Possums Phil Salazar & the Kin Folk
Jeff Scroggins & Colorado Molsky's Mountain Drifters Amber Cross
Blue Summit Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players History of Parkfield
Bluegrass Music Society of the Central Coast Dick's Bluegrass Links Bluegrass T-Shirts
Bluegrass in the Park (Clovis) Northern California Bluegrass Society San Andreas Fault
Parkfield Quake of 2004 Dick's Parkfield Photos Other Bluegrass Festivals
 
You Tube (& other) Videos
Lonely Heartstring Band Goat Hill Girls Echo Mountain
FY5 Honeysuckle Possums Blue Summit     More
Molsky's Mountain Drifters Missy Raines Phil Salazar
Amber Cross Jeff Scroggins Parkfield 2011
Sonoran Dogs Bean Creek Tuttles and AJ Lee & Kathy Kallick
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Before 2002
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1961 Monterey Jazz Festival Bluegrass Odyssey
   
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2002
Journey of 2002 (Ohio & Back) Logandale & Utah Parks 2002
   
2003
Arizona & Bluegrass on the River 2003 Grand Canyon & Logandale Bluegrass 2003
Parkfield & Huck Finn 2003 Early Frog Camps (2003-2005)
   
2004
Paso Robles & Parkfield 2004 Road Trip 2004 (Ohio & Back)
Bullhead City Bluegrass, Mesa, Superstition Bluegrass 2004 Bluegrass in the Foothills 2004
   
2005
Arizona-Southern California 2005 Huck Finn Bluegrass 2005
Morro Bay 2005 Stargazer Rock Camp 2005
Parkfield Bluegrass 2005    
   
2006
Huck Finn Bluegrass 2006 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2006
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Parkfield Bluegrass 2006 Oregon 2006
Bluegrass in the Foothills 2006    
   
2007
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Stargazer Rock Camp 2007 Roundup #1
(Mother Lode; Kings Canyon, Yosemite)
Bluegrass in the Foothills 2007    
   
2008
Nevada-Arizona Hockey & Bluegrass 2008 Parkfield Bluegrass 2008
Frog Camp 2008 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2008
Stargazer Rock Camp 2008 Bluegrass in the Foothills 2008
Hobbs Grove Festival 2008     
   
2009
Roundup 2009
Las Vegas, Mariposa, Table Mountain, Orange County
Frog Camp 2009 Southern Journey 2009
Parkfield Bluegrass 2009 Stargazer Rock Camp 2009
Bluegrass Tour 2009
Brown Barn, Plymouth, Hobbs Grove   
Hensley Lake Camp
   
2010
Mojave National Preserve & Havasu Bluegrass Roundup 2010
Hensley Reservoir, Mojave Preserve 2 & 3
Parkfield Bluegrass 2010 Lake Almanor & Mt. Lassen 2010
Las Vegas Expo Summergrass
   Brown Barn, Watsonville & Hobbs Grove
   
2011
Roundup 2011
Mariposa, Hensley, Table Mountain
Frog Camp 2011
Parkfield Bluegrass 2011 Frank, Pat, Dick & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Northern Coast Journey 2011 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2011
Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival Chilkoot & Stargazer Rock Camp
Kings River & Brown Barn Bluegrass Festivals Hensley Camp 2011
    
2012 
Parkfield Bluegrass 2012 Four Squaw Leap Hikes
Northern Coast Journey 2012 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2012
Stargazer Rock Camp 2012 Bluegrass in the Foothills 2012
A 3-Event Weekend
Farmer's Market, Kings River Bluegrass, Antique Fair
2012 Las Vegas CAN AM Hockey Challenge
Fall Hikes
Finegold Trail; Bower Cave
Into Los Gatos Canyon
  
2013
Silver Stick Tournament - Canada Sierra Foothills - Winter 2013
Finegold Trailhead, Hensley Lake, San Joaquin Gorge
Death Valley - Alabama Hills - Whitney Portal Sierra Foothills - Spring 2013
San Joaquin Gorge Hike, Big Creek Drive
Parkfield Bluegrass 2013 Shaver Crossing Station & Big Creek
Lake Almanor & Caribou Crossroads Mono Hot Springs
Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival A Wedding in Duluth
Sequoia Park Hiking Roundup 2013
Kings River Bluegrass, Buena Vista Peak Hike, Hensley Lake Camp, North Fork Mono Museum, White Rock Road, Hockey in Denver
     
2014
2014 Winter Hikes
Millerton South Bay Trail, Clovis Trail, Hite's Cove Trail
San Joaquin Gorge Campout
Colorado Springs Hockey Tournament Lake Havasu Bluegrass
2014 Spring Hikes
Stockton Creek Preserve, San Joaquin River Trail, San Joaquin Gorge, Millerton Lake, Sycamore Creek, Buena Vista Peak Again
NORCAL Hockey Playoffs and Santa Cruz Visit
Greeley Hill Road Trip Parkfield Bluegrass 2014
Journey of 2014 Journey of 2014 Photos
Nelder Grove Hikes 2014 Sentinel Dome Hike
2014 Fall & Winter Hikes
San Joaquin River Trail South & North, Red Rock Canyon Nevada, San Joaquin South Again
California Flat Campout
Snow Day with the  Upshaw's   
 
2015
Rambler Hikes 2015 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2015 Part 2
Adventures of 2015 - February to May
(Goofy Smith Flat, Coast Redwoods & Big Sur, Pine Flat, Finegold Trail, Edison Point Trail, Nelder Grove)
Adventures of 2015 - June to December
(Lewis Creek Trail, Kaiser Pass, Kaiser Pass Again, Taft Point, Kings River Bluegrass, Shaver Logging Road, San Joaquin River Trail, Lewis S Eaton Trail, San Joaquin River Gorge, Thanksgiving at the Gorge)
Lake Tahoe & Virginia City Parkfield Bluegrass 2015
Colorado Springs Cousin Convention 2015 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2015
Stargazer Rock Camp 2015 Grand Canyon & Arches National Parks
  
2016
Adventures of 2016 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2016 Page 1
Adventures of 2016 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2016 Page 2
Adventures of 2016 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2016 Page 3
Adventures of 2016 Part 4 A Pennsylvania Adventure
Adventures of 2016 Part 5 Parkfield Bluegrass 2016
Adventures of 2016 Part 6 Las Vegas Commodore Expo 2016
Adventures of 2016 Part 7 Stargazer Rock Camp 2016
     
2017
Adventures of 2017 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2017 Page 1
Adventures of 2017 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2017 Page 2
Adventures of 2017 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2017 Page 3
Adventures of 2017 Part 4 Hiking and Hockey
Adventures of 2017 Part 5 Lake Almanor
Adventures of 2017 Part 6 Northern California Redwood Hike
Parkfield Bluegrass 2017 Stargazer Rock Camp 2017
Travel Blog 2017 (an experiment) Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks
  
2018
Adventures of 2018 Part 1 Rambler Hikes 2018 Page 1
Adventures of 2018 Part 2 Rambler Hikes 2018 Page 2
Adventures of 2018 Part 3 Rambler Hikes 2018 Page 3
Adventures of 2018 Part 4 Parkfield Bluegrass 2018
Adventures of 2018 Part 5 Northern California Journey 2018
Adventures of 2018 Part 6
  
Other
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Butch's Blog Walker Family Trips
Parkfield Earthquake Kim & Morgan Brown Trips & Photos
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Updated May 24, 2018