Hooked on Bluegrass

Larry Baker

As a teenager growing up in Southern California enjoying the likes of The Beach Boy's, Jan and Dean and many other similar type groups, what did I know or even care about Bluegrass music? Coming from a large working class family, every Friday night was a family get together including my Uncle Richard Hoglen (who was at our Plymouth Festival).

Who is "Uncle Slick" (as we call him) you say? He is from West Plains, Missouri, the home of Porter Wagner. At the time (1950's) Porter had a bluegrass band and Uncle Slick learned to play and jammed many nights with Porter. Most importantly he was introduced and became great friends with the great John Hartford.

So with that said, back to our Friday night family gatherings. Uncle Slick would break our his guitar and begin playing bluegrass songs ,many times being joined by his friends. After getting over the Beach Boy's and getting hit with this great heart felt music I was one of the only So. Cal teenage kids who reluctantly admitted to liking bluegrass music. Couldn't wait for Friday nights or any family gathering.

As time past and I was off to college, bluegrass left me but wasn't forgotten. Eight years ago as Sondra and I moved north to our dream home on the lake and began our hot dog business we were solicited by the previous Plymouth promoter to come sell hot dogs at his festival. So needless to say we were all over that.

In 1995 we worked our first bluegrass festival pushing our then small hot dog cart around the campground until 4:30am selling hot dogs. Most of that time we spent going from jam to jam mostly listening and enjoying the music.

Our next year, being the business guy I am, I told Sondra I had an idea, let's invite a few of the bands to our booth, feed them for a free jam session. With free hot dogs, before we knew it we had James King, III Tyme Out, The Navy Band, Lost Highway and many other bands jamming in front of our booth. Boy how great is that, private jams from the best and selling food.

Look what this music has done to us, we now produce two festivals and are active in many others. Now our family get togethers are 3-4 day festivals not just Friday nights. How can a person NOT be hooked??

Life is Good!!!

(posted 1/8/2006)

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