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Thread: Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff - Feels good to be back home again!

  1. #1
    Registered User Ion4014's Avatar
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    Default Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff - Feels good to be back home again!

    This weekend I got to experience my first bluegrass festival in a very long time.

    I grew up with bluegrass. I was exposed to it at a young age, sitting in the town square of Mountain View Arkansas, listening to the old-timers jam and tell old stories and jokes, all outside the "Little Yellow House." I am not from there, but my Iowan grandparents had fallen in love with the area (and music) and built a vacation home right on top of the Ozarks.

    My grandmother played fiddle, piano, organ, autoharp, some guitar, and any other instrument she could get her hands on. She even had her own bluegrass band called the White Fox Assembly.

    Of course as time marches forward, both my grandparents are no longer with us. After my grandfather died in 2005 we had to sell the vacation home. I haven't been back since. My grandmother died in 2010 and I inherited a few of her fiddles, but they sit in my basement collecting dust. A proper metaphor for my relationship with bluegrass and old-time music.

    Last year was a renaissance so to speak. I had felt stagnant with my music. I had played guitar (mostly rock and blues) as well as a smattering of others and was just not content. My brother, fell down the same rabbit hole, though with different instruments. I purchased an Oscar Schmidt Washburn OM12b mandolin on craigslist and immediately fell in love with the instrument (a set-up from the local music shop has it singing beautifully). For my brother, a well deserved birthday present gave him his first Banjo.

    We decided rather abruptly that we should go to a bluegrass festival to bring the music we had lost back into our lives. Enter the Minnesota Homegrown Kick-Off.

    This past weekend, while only up for the day, we spent quality time jamming, learning about our chosen instruments, and spending time together. We first attended the beginner jam session inside a tent, dodging the torrential rain, learning about keys and how to jump in and jam. We were jamming together in no time. The atmosphere was casual, welcoming, and very forgiving. I later attended a workshop for mandolin, he for banjo. He was the only one there, so he got one on one attention from the instructor.

    After we jammed with the band Mash Tun (and the rain stopped), we sat in with the intermediate jam session where we finally started to feel the pain in our fingers. We later sat together and listened to some music before heading home.

    Going to the festival was more than just a chance to play, it was a journey back to some good memories. We had a blast, everyone was very nice, and hopefully we will be going again and again into the future (and once my kids are a little older, this will be a tradition for them too!)

    Thank you Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association for giving me the chance to spend time with the memories of the past, to learn from the present, and look forward to the future.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff - Feels good to be back home agai

    Sounds like a fantastic time, I'm hoping to make it to a few festivals this summer myself. You should look up the Sugar Maple Festival down here in Madison this fall:

    https://sugarmaplefest.org/

  4. #3
    Registered User Ion4014's Avatar
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    Default Re: Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff - Feels good to be back home agai

    It was a great time. Unfortunately I have plans that weekend, but Madison is close enough that I will have to keep it in mind for next year. Thanks for the suggestion!

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