Author: Campbell, Bruce

Forget this, remember that
There was an interesting thread on the Message Board recently about items that folks forget when they pack for the Fatherís Day Festival. It made for some interesting reading, and probably everyone who read that thread saw themselves in those notes. I donít tend to forget much Ė I have a standard Festival Camping Checklist that I use over and over again. Anytime I forget something, it goes on the list for next time. The list grows a little after just about every festival.

I find that, like a lot of people, I forget personal items because Iím so concentrated on the music stuff. Iíll never forget my guitar, banjo and bass (Iíll probably even bring my banjo-uke this year!), and Iíll certainly have extra strings, tuners and capos, too. Iíll remember to bring my straps, and probably even a soft rag to wipe down the instruments after a day of playing in a dusty environment. What I wonít remember is clean socks or underwear, or a toothbrush. Actually, thanks to my Magic List, I WILL remember those things. I canít tell you what Iíll really forget, because I havenít forgotten it yet.

What can be fascinating at any festival is the odd, quirky or ingenious things that people remember to bring. There are the banners, totems and heraldry to mark territory Ė from signs to flags and assorted icons. American flags abound, for understandable reasons, as to other more individualized and stylized personal touches. Camp Spam always has some interesting visual aspects, and we can expect some Nevada County Red rooster figures around the fairgrounds.

One really cool thing I saw one year was Gene Tortoraís headlights. Apparently, playing dobro in the dark is pretty nigh-on impossible, so Gene applied some engineering know-how and had some contraption that provided a little light over each eye. Weíve all seen the single headlamp flashlights, but this had a whole different look. As he approached you from the dark, you just couldnít place what the heck it was (a little tiny car, floating through the air?), but once he arrived, the simplicity and elegance of the solution was immediately apparent. Uh, that was also the year I fell asleep playing stand-up bass (standing up).

How about home made ice cream? A couple of years (or was it last year), I was wandering the campgrounds with some friends, and we bumped into Scott Lesovksy who said ďHey you want some fresh ice cream?Ē Of course, thereís only one good answer to that question, so we all tramped through the dark to Scottís lair and enjoyed the completely unexpected combination of kindness and cold creamy treat. I have no way of knowing if Scott forgot anything, but I sure know what he remembered!

So, when you get to Grass Valley this year, and discover youíve forgotten something, donít despair Ė take a walk around and see the remarkable things that everybody remembered to bring!
Posted:  7/10/2009

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