Author: Compton, Cliff

The festival season
 

Weíre in the middle of festival season. That time of year when the sun shine brightest, the birds sing the loudest and anticipation is at itís highest level since when you were a kid on the night before Christmas.

I look forward to festival season like I used to look forward to Christmas.

The problem with Christmas was that we had all these relatives that came with the package, and not all of them were gifts. Most of them were interested in stuff I could have cared less about, some of them smelled bad, and generally when there were cousins involved there was trouble soon to follow. Not that I didnít enjoy the trouble, I did, but I never much liked the consequences that followed.

The thing about bluegrass festivals is itís kind of like family gatherings only you get to choose the family and the family likes what you like, and even if you donít like everybody equally, you like most of them pretty much, and even if you donít, you still probably like the way they pick, and THAT covers a multitude of sins in my world.

And you see the same faces year in and year out and they look better every time you see them. Even when the ravages of age and failing health begin to drag them down, they still look good because that music shines in their eyes and the songs they sing grant you insight into the very bones of their souls in a way that can never be explained. Something you just know.

And yet itís always new. Some cowboy from Montana with a a whole raft of prairie music. Some Django picker from the bay area
That stumbles into your campsite at 2:oclock in the morning with pockets full of magic, a trio of Boston boys, one guy with a voice an octave above Bill Monroe, breathing new life into the high lonesome.

And tribes form. The gospel guys camped behind the restrooms at grass valley. Camp grump, where Chef mike wields has spatula and plays that washtub base surrounded by like minded friends.
The country western bunch all bundled into Jeanie Ramos pop-up in Turlock. The bottom feeders in the south. The mens crisis center from the bay. The Santa Cruz pickers hiding in the hills.

Like new cities rising with great promise built up and torn down. New festivals forming, old festivals going away. New ways to celebrate the old. New traditions to enhance the old traditions.
New music to feed the trees.

Yet, as with all of the cycles of life, each festival has to end. Hopefully leaving pixie dust in itís wake, and plans for the next one coming.

The Festivals Over

The festivalís over
The tents are all gone
The last picker standing
Has picked his last song
Those motor homes packed up
And driven away
And as I move down the highway
Iíve got this to say

I hope that God blesses
Till we meet again
I pray that you prosper
And the same to your friends
I hope you stay healthy
And that you never die
And it you do, thatís o.k.
Weíll be pickiní some day
In the sweet by and by

The entertainers entertained us
The jamming was good
My stomachs remembering
The festival food
And my fingers are aching
From picking all night
And Iím as tired as a dead man
But I still feel alright

And I hope that God blesses
Till we meet again
And I pray that you prosper
And the same to your friends
I hope you stay healthy
And that you never die
And it you do, thatís o.k.
Weíll be pickiní some day
In the sweet by and by

 
Posted:  7/11/2014



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