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Thread: Bluegrass festival

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    Quote Originally Posted by EarlG View Post
    I even saw a band get up from a jam circle and form up like they were on stage and do a tune. Completely ill mannered.
    Or worse; Somebody besides a band member calls a tune, and "the band" takes over. Afterwards, i asked, "So that's in your set list, eh?" They laughed, "how could you tell?"
    Indeed, if i wanted lessons or a performance i'd go pay for them.

  2. #27
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    My festival experience is severely limited but I've been to tons of jams and played in bands and I've experienced everything everyone is talking about so it's all very common. From the fast picking, aggressive mandolin player that shreds the pentatonic scales over the changes to the very subtle "just the melody or else we shun you" crowd. I found both extremes really annoying and uninviting in their own ways and it really leaves an impression on an intermediate player.

    I equate the first example of the shredding mando to being a head down drummer. Ever been to a drum circle and there's always one yahoo with his head down beating the tar out of his drum not listening to anyone else and driving everyone insane. They're just not listening, not being part of the group and self centered. They don't know or care to know better. The other example verges on the dreaded BG police. They are the old guard and demand certain things or else they close ranks. I noticed another group which is the band that plays together as a band in a jam circle. Hate that one

    I've been the wild pentatonic speed freak and the "don't know any better" guy especially when I first started but I always kept my head up so I learned. I practiced at home, learned tunes and how to listen. After learning to improv I finally wet back to the basics, played straight melody then added them both together. It's a skill. It takes time.

    But during this process which has taken me years I've been to numerous jams, gotten praise from some, shunned by others, invited into closed circles and been left in the cold looking for another group. What stayed with me was the attitudes of the people. One of the best pickers I know is also one of the most encouraging and accepting person I've ever met. And flawed. He's OCD and neurotic but a loving, kind individual that can bring tears to your eyes when he plays.

    I think as we develop through the ranks of life our roles should and must change in order to facilitate future growth. At the lower ranks there's a lot of elbowing and fighting to be noticed until we get a foothold then we find a place but always under someones critiquing eye who been there already.

    The middle layers are congested with the BG police and the old guard. The ones that tell you how to tow the line and punish you if you don't.

    The upper levels realize that's unnecessary and free themselves from those shackles and become expressive in their art and encouraging and open to others freely sharing their time and knowledge with all.

    In some parts of my life and with certain skills I have reached the upper level while simultaneously existing at the beginner and intermediate levels in others. But I still make mistakes but willing to learn from them. We're all like this and if we can keep it in mind and the ride goes smoother.
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  3. #28
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    I can put up with most things when jamming,i just let 'em ride,BUT,the worst thing is that when you've got a nice little group together & you really 'hit it',& you're playing off one another, a group of pickers decide to 'gate crash' - end of story !!!,
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  4. #29
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    Good jam day at Willow Oak fester yesterday:

    First, went to the L&F table after their set, got to play Scott Napier's Hutto, another guy with a Hutto showed up. We 3 picked Blackberry Blossom, back and forth. All that was missing was the D Man Hutto...

    Then, hit the campsites and found a good jam - 2 dobros, 2 flat tops, 1 bass, 1 banjo and me. Perfect. Plus, the hosts were mixing up Mint Jelups, in honor of the Kentucky Derby. We sang Molly and Tenbrooks, for the occasion. Also picked Rawhide.

    So, the good ones do exist.

  5. #30
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

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  6. #31
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    Jams are jams; controlling who joins and how they play just ain't gonna happen. You can't enforce taste, and unfortunately some folks just don't have it. I imagine in my misspent yout', I messed up many a jam by playing too fast and loud, suggesting inappropriate material, etc. Now that I approach Methuselah status, I make fewer of these errors, partially because I can no longer play fast and loud, and partially because I've learned to lay back and listen.

    The only "controlled" jams I've seen have been by-invitation get-togethers at people's houses, and even then someone may bring a "friend" who doesn't get it at first. Start picking at a festival, and people start showing up, and there you go. At Bluegrass In the Pasture, I understand that for a few years they sent some of the stage performers through the camping areas at night, to select the "best jam," which was then invited onstage the next day. Believe that this practice was discontinued at recent BITP's, though.

    I do find it a bit off-putting when entire bands participate in jams, and play through their repertoire with worked-out arrangements, etc. Others at the jam are definitely left out. But, hey, it's a jam, and what happens, happens. A few dissatisfied jammers can always go off and start a satellite jam, as mentioned above.
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  7. #32
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    I remember the days before electronic tuners were popular and every time I went from one group to another I had to spend a lot of time figuring out just where they were tuned, and then I probably wasn`t exactly right on and I believe that still goes on at times because everyone doesn`t own a tuner.....

    Then you have the one "Flashy" banjo picker that knows about three songs so he goes from one session to another and plays those same three songs at each one, I guess as long as he is enjoying himself that is what matters...

  8. #33

    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    It takes some guts/cojones/chutzpah to walk up to a jam of folks you don't know, whip it out and start flailing away. ...
    Sounds like a job for the bluegrass police.
    I saw Homer & Jethro once. This mandolin therapy isn't helping me get over it.

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  9. #34
    Registered User Andy Alexander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Jams are jams; controlling who joins and how they play just ain't gonna happen. You can't enforce taste, and unfortunately some folks just don't have it. I imagine in my misspent yout', I messed up many a jam by playing too fast and loud, suggesting inappropriate material, etc. Now that I approach Methuselah status, I make fewer of these errors, partially because I can no longer play fast and loud, and partially because I've learned to lay back and listen.

    The only "controlled" jams I've seen have been by-invitation get-togethers at people's houses, and even then someone may bring a "friend" who doesn't get it at first. Start picking at a festival, and people start showing up, and there you go. At Bluegrass In the Pasture, I understand that for a few years they sent some of the stage performers through the camping areas at night, to select the "best jam," which was then invited onstage the next day. Believe that this practice was discontinued at recent BITP's, though.

    I do find it a bit off-putting when entire bands participate in jams, and play through their repertoire with worked-out arrangements, etc. Others at the jam are definitely left out. But, hey, it's a jam, and what happens, happens. A few dissatisfied jammers can always go off and start a satellite jam, as mentioned above.
    Hi Allen, I assume that you are talking about the "Pasture Jam Contest" at Pickin' In The Pasture. It was a lot of fun but it eventually ran it's course after several years. The competitive aspect of it started leading to more closed jams and became a little too serious. The "judges" tried to keep the spirit of the contest light by considering the entire jam atmosphere (beverages, food, etc).

    Often times the group selected had a couple of members of bands that had not been booked for the event. It was awkward to ask these guys to play on stage the next day for a case of strings and a free ticket to next year's event. Lesser accomplished players became intimidated to jam. The competitive nature of the Pasture Jam Contest became counterproductive to encouraging Picking In The Pasture.

  10. #35
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Alexander View Post
    Hi Allen, I assume that you are talking about the "Pasture Jam Contest" at Pickin' In The Pasture. It was a lot of fun but it eventually ran it's course after several years...The competitive nature of the Pasture Jam Contest became counterproductive to encouraging Picking In The Pasture.
    Thanx, Andy. What you're saying is in line with what my BG friends who attend PITP tell me. They also hinted that jams providing more and better beer for the "judges" had the inside track for selection, but I put that down to sour grapes (or sour brews...).
    Allen Hopkins
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    Stradolin Vega banjolin
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  11. #36
    Registered User Andy Alexander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Thanx, Andy. What you're saying is in line with what my BG friends who attend PITP tell me. They also hinted that jams providing more and better beer for the "judges" had the inside track for selection, but I put that down to sour grapes (or sour brews...).
    The entire jam was being judged, not just the music. The atmosphere and spirit of the jam was considered heavily. Fun was a big factor. One memorable jam actually had a bluegrass pole dancer.

  12. #37
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    Default Re: Bluegrass festival

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Alexander View Post
    One memorable jam actually had a bluegrass pole dancer.

    Was his name "Bubba"?
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