Author: Varner, Mark

The Fauna of Grass Valley
Dear friends,

Despite a brief flirtation with allowing pets at the upcoming Father’s Day Festival the final word from above is a big negatory on our friends with hooves, claws, feathers and fur. In this case the delineation of species is blurred by the fact that the very attendees can readily be compared to members of the animal kingdom.

There are all kinds of personalities that migrate to the wild open spaces of the Nevada Country Fairgrounds. Picture Noah’s arc, loaded with critters that suddenly find themselves shoulder to withers, predators and prey sharing a common space. As we look at the behavior of these beasts we can classify their approach to the fine art of jamming.

The man upstairs was inspired to create a plethora of creatures, each with its own style. Let’s review a bit of this bluegrass biology.

Dogs: Most jammers are dogs. They are chummy and ready to play at the drop of a hat. They might be swift greyhounds or lazy bloodhounds, but they are pack animals and love to run with others.

Cats: Deigning to share the same space and pursuits as the dog-jammers, cats aren’t quite so gregarious but are still drawn together to caterwaul all night long. Their licks are fast and sleek. They roam the night to find secret places to do their picking with other cats.

Lemurs: Though social creatures, the lemur is too timid to participate in most group jamming situations. They look about with their big shiny eyes to find other lemurs to pick with until they get bolder.

Storks: Storks stand about the edges of a jam on their longs legs with their instruments in hand but typically don’t get into the thick of the picking in the jam circle.

Kangaroos: A most interesting beast. The kangaroo hops from spot to spot in the jamming circle to get extra chances to select the song to be played.

Birds: Birds are called into a jam for their vocal prowess. They may not even have an instrument strapped on, but they have a song that everyone needs to hear and pick on.

Monkeys: They liven things up with their jokes and antics, but you may get to play a few less tunes due to the general hilarity.

Hyenas: Think they’re monkeys, but are much more obnoxious. They’ll choose the exact time you play that golden break to try and hone their comedy and get a laugh out of the crowd.

Chameleon: Can fit into any jam from old-timey to swing.

Rhinoceros: Do not let the tough exterior of the rhino fool you. Beneath the armor and horns beats a gentle and gracious heart.

Horses: Get ready to gallop in you fall in with this herd. Every tuen has one of two gears: fast and “hold on!”

Platypus: Neither fish nor fowl these odd critters will confuse one and all with their jam buster song choices.

Sloths: Be prepared to slow things down for the circle of sloths. Give ‘em time – they’re learning. And don’t worry about the slow tempo – someone will speed the darned tune up by the time it gets to you.

We could do this all day. Think about what kind of animal you are as you make the drive up to Grass Valley next week. See ya there!

Your pal,
Mark Varner
Posted:  6/2/2008

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