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Thread: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

  1. #1
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    I haven't been to a bluegrass festival - or really, to any festival where the campers and other attendees spend so much time pickin' on the grounds. I decided to try Telluride, but they're sold out except for one or two days. So I checked other Colorado festivals (I love the mountains), and the only one I found that still had full-event & camping tickets was the Folks festival in Lyons.

    At a jam, a friend told me about this little festival they always attend in Arkansas, the Turkey Track bluegrass festival.

    And then, today, I checked on the Old Settlers festival here in Texas: Man, what a lineup for the stage shows!

    So I have three options I'm looking at now. I can't make all of them. Here are the three I'm looking at. If anyone is familiar with any of these, I'd like to hear about it. ALSO, open to other suggestions. I'll have to shift to the planning stage pretty soon. Here's what I'm looking at as choices right now.

    1. Folks Festival, Aug. 17 - 19, Lyons, CO https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...h1xUoqiuMHh4vY

    2. Turkey Track Bluegrass Festival, June 6 - 9, Waldron, Arkansas https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...WvsFogPA2mDZnF

    3. Old Settlers Music Festival, April 19 - 22, Tilmon, Texas https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...6YyzwAnvNqGELw

    I live near Abilene, Texas, and will drive and camp at festival.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Kevin Stueve's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Winfield doesn't make your list?
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  3. #3
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Is that the Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, Kansas? I'll check it out. Have you been to that one Kevin?
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    Registered User Kevin Stueve's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    not in 30 years Mark, but I hear that if you are looking for campground picking it is still awesome.
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    Registered User mee's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    My first was Stoney Creek in Greenville Va last June and best vacation ever. Great line up included Larry Stephenson and also Marteka and William Lake along with some other fantastic local groups. 3 full days of picking, can't wait for this year! Hoping to do more festivals in the coming years, there are quite a few within a couple hundred miles around me.

  6. #6

    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    I like the smaller festivals. I go to the Pagosa Springs Folk and Bluegrass festival in June (the folk fest Labor Day is too crowded) www.folkwest.com and the High Mountain Hay Fever Festival in June. Both fests in the mountains of Colorado and good picking in the campgrounds at both.
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  7. #7
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    I like the smaller festivals. I go to the Pagosa Springs Folk and Bluegrass festival in June (the folk fest Labor Day is too crowded) www.folkwest.com and the High Mountain Hay Fever Festival in June. Both fests in the mountains of Colorado and good picking in the campgrounds at both.
    Looks great, and so much closer than the other CO festivals I was looking at. Thanks Don
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  8. #8

    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    From Abilene? I'd just move to Mountain View Ark.

    I'd move to Mountain View Ark. myself, if I didn't love to shovel snow so much.

    Folks I know used to go down to "the valley" in Texas, and jam all winter.
    (Probably better I don't know about that place)

    PS - Sally Mnt. Mo. (queen city, mo.) Rhonda Vincent's annual jam.
    (Can't get more hardcore Bluegrass than that)

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  10. #9
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    I like the smaller festivals. I go to the Pagosa Springs Folk and Bluegrass festival in June (the folk fest Labor Day is too crowded) www.folkwest.com and the High Mountain Hay Fever Festival in June. Both fests in the mountains of Colorado and good picking in the campgrounds at both.
    I'm officially ticketed for this one now!

    Thanks for the heads up, Don!
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    Registered User bradlaird's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    I'm officially ticketed for this one now!
    Way to go, dude!

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    MandoHog MandoHog's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Turkey Track is very nice festival. Winfield is an awesome experience, but not 100% bluegrass. It is difficult to go and camp for first-timers unless you know someone. Land locked space so every spot is almost spoken for. But OH what a spectacle! Go people watch as well as hear great pickin'. And Mt View AR the third weekend in April, the last w/e October or really most any weekend where there is nice weather & you'll find a jam. MT is unlike anyplace you've ever seen. But try them ALL out one by one and let us know. I will see you at Turkey Track in a couple weeks! thx David

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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Sounds good, man; you're sure to have a blast!

    Here's our local one, in full swing now, the 40th annual Lil John's Mountain Music Festival (was Bass Mountain), held in Snow Camp, North Carolina. Last night was the pot luck and jam, we were throwin' it down, doncha know.

    Featured bands are Blue Highway, Terry Baucom, Flatt Lonesome, IIIrd Tyme Out, David Parmley and Cardinal Tradition, Lost & Found, among others. Speaking of L&F, they were at the 1st festival in 1978. I found a recording in the stack of this band at the 1981 festival, some 37 years ago....Dempsey, Gene Parker, Bubba Chandler. Reagan was in office and Dempsey made some crack about that...haha. I made a copy of this show and plan on giving it to Allen Mills, the venerable bass man who is turning 80 years young this summer. The band picked Goofus, a Dempsey showcase number. The crowd back then simply did not get his brilliance...ah, civilians
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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Old Settlers has a strong old-time following. Turkey Track has lots of jamming but can be clicky. Best to know someone for an in. Winfield is heaven. Show up on land rush day and find someone friendly to camp next to. Not hard to do. If you come later in the week it’s harder to find camp space and electric. Look up Shoo Goo camp for good old-time, some ITM and whatever you want to play. I picked some Nirvana with a kid once. Ask for Stumpy.
    Mike Snyder

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  19. #14
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Man, this is great stuff! I like hearing about what y'all are doing and finding out about these things.

    Re: Turkey Track, there's a buddy at the local jam, Paul Frazier, who does volunteer work out there all the time, he's the one who's been inviting me out there. But the schedule conflicts with the one in Colorado I'm going to. I plan to meet Don Grieser there, and just make new friends in the campgrounds. I'll have one of my grandsons along. This is the Pagosa Folk & Bluegrass festival at Pagosa Springs. I'm an old folkie myself, with blues, old-time, gospel, country and rock in my blood and a wannabe grasser.

    Some good bluegrass bands will be there, and Tommy Emmanuel is headlining one night. Something for everybody.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    If you want to hear some really good music, look around for locals that get together, usually on weekends. There are two of them about an hour and a half from me: Williamson Music Barn and Hollonville Opry.

    They were started by locals and feature music from all over Georgia (and sometimes Alabama and South Carolina) and have been around for years. I'm not sure about Williamson but the Hollonville Opry is at least 25 years old. They each run for about 3 hours on Friday or Saturday night and feature 3 different acts of gospel, bluegrass and/or country music. There's never a charge to get in but donations are certainly encouraged. Furthermore, there's always food and non-alcoholic drinks and it's free, too, but once again, they promote donations.

    Both venues have excellent sound systems The talent is not paid in money but they practically stand in line to get booked in. The pay comes from the audience, not in money but in appreciation. Some of the groups are family bands while others may be neighborhood groups or even organized groups. The audience really, really likes the music and they show it.

    One of my favorite features of the Williamson Music Barn is the parking lot picking. Before, during and after the inside performances, there a hand full of pickers (banjos, mandolins, fiddles, dobros, guitars and a stand-up bass) played by the Sheriff. This isn't a Jimmy Capps-type sheriff. This is a “Let me see your driver's license, boy” type of sheriff. I've participated in a few of these but I'm always a little embarrassed because everyone so much better than I am. In any event, it's fun.

    Our group has played Williamson twice this year and we're also booked for October. I'm looking forward to it and, yes, I'll probably embarrass myself during the parking lot picking.
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  22. #16
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    The Adams Bluegrass Festivals look great, a friend gave me a brochure. Doyle Lawson, Dailey & Vincent, Rhonda Vincent, Gibson Brothers, Carl Jackson booked at most all their festivals and a bunch of other good talent. If I could get out east to GA or the Carolinas a little later there are a lot of folks I'd like to visit along the way.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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    Registered User Cochiti Don's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    I went to the Santa Fe international folk festival last year in August. Small but good.
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  25. #18
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    It's sold out, but the RockyGrass festival in Lyons, CO has a pretty exciting lineup this year.

    http://www.bluegrass.com/rockygrass/lineup.html

    It can get crowded but the campground (and around town) pick-up gatherings are many and are a lot of fun. The RockyGrass Academy is worth going to as well.

  26. #19
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Had a great time at the Folk & Bluegrass festival in Pagosa Springs. One of the highlights was getting to meet Don Grieser there, and getting to meet Jim Hillburn. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to pick with those guys this go-round, but I've had dealings with them online for awhile, and it was great to shake hands, slap backs and meet face-to-face.

    I did get to see and play a couple of Jim Hillburn's gorgeous mandolins. A real treat.

    Also met and played with a few other guys who wore cafe ballcaps, and who claimed to be silent lurkers here. It was all a great lot of fun.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
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    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
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  27. #20

    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Nice to meet you, Mark. Sorry I missed you when you came by and met Jim. We could have picked Poor Richard's Almanac. Good music on stage at Pagosa, and great picking in the campground. Not too big, plenty of room and shade, and generally friendly folks.
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  29. #21

    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    Had a great time at the Folk & Bluegrass festival in Pagosa Springs. One of the highlights was getting to meet Don Grieser there, and getting to meet Jim Hillburn. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to pick with those guys this go-round, but I've had dealings with them online for awhile, and it was great to shake hands, slap backs and meet face-to-face.

    I did get to see and play a couple of Jim Hillburn's gorgeous mandolins. A real treat.

    Also met and played with a few other guys who wore cafe ballcaps, and who claimed to be silent lurkers here. It was all a great lot of fun.
    Was a pleasure to meet you mark and pick your brain about finishes. After pagosa I came home and applied a spirit varnish with a shellac french polish on my first build from scratch.
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    Jacob Hagerty, Hagerty Mandolins

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  31. #22
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time To A Pickin' Festival

    Gorgeous pics, Jacob! Very nice. It was great getting to meet you as well. Hope your builds do well.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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