Author: Brandli, Darby

President Brandli's Message for October

Mark Hogan is on another roll!
I sent an email to someone a few days ago saying I am most proud of the quality and quantity of the volunteers we have in the California Bluegrass Association. The email took place after I had yet another conversation with one of my favorite CBA volunteers which ended with one of us rather loudly hanging up the telephone. My “volunteer of the month” is Mark Hogan with whom I was having a rather passionate conversation about CBA activities and priority setting. Mark and I were not talking about baseball or restoring our old VW campers or why his pet goat cannot attend the Father’s Day Festival or vote (topics which we often cover). Rather, Mark was telling me (again) why it is so important to properly and permanently archive our recordings of ALL the old Father’s Day Festival tapes.

Mark has gathered together all the tapes (recorded off the sound board) of 34 years of our festival. Last year Mark found a cache of tapes on the east coast and arranged to have them shipped back to California. We are talking here about every single set of every single artist who has appeared on our stage. (If anyone wants to remember who those artists are, go check out the lineups Ken Reynolds has compiled on ) Mark has built a temperature controlled (and goat proof) shed in his back yard in Sebastopol in which to store all the very fragile tapes and he wants money to continue to digitize the tapes. Mark and Dave Nielson have started this project and want to see it to its completion. I marvel at the technology changes reflected in this collection of “tapes” stored in Mark’s shed.

Mark is passionate about the music and the Association and is like a bull (not goat) in a China Shop when he has an idea. Mark had an idea about a decade ago about producing another event in his home area and created what was then called the President’s Day Festival in Sebastopol. Mark found and recruited his own team by a partnership he formed with the Sonoma County Folk Society and he was off! Last year was the 9th Annual Bluegrass and Folk Music Festival and was another success (and profitable) music event.
Last year Mark decided the CBA should definitely have an all Old Time event and found a spot, found partners (the Sonoma County Folk Society and the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention) and promised the CBA Board of Directors that he could and would produce an event which would not incur any debt to the Association. The Golden Old Time Campout was born and held in Boonville on the Mendocino County Fairgrounds this August. To describe the campout as a success is an understatement. Hundreds of people (most of whom I had never seen at any other CBA event) attended and pitched their tents on the Fairgrounds and celebrated Old Time Music for three days. Will we have another Golden Old Time Campout? You betcha. Will Mark take this on as a labor of love? You betcha.

Now Mark and I rarely have a conversation during which we always agree and often end our telephone conversations abruptly. This particular conversation began about festival tapes and morphed into my insistence that porta potties be delivered to the tent camping area on the Nevada County Fairgrounds on the Sunday start of Music Camp and that the shovel and toilet paper roll hand delivered to me by Mark would just not “do” next year. (Mark volunteers to place all porta potties for our Father’s Day Festival, one of the most important jobs for tent campers). I was trying to make certain my wish embedded itself into Mark’s mental “to do” list (archiving our tapes) because I know for certain that Mark will find a way to get us to come up with money for his archival plan and I want him to link my wish with his. Mark is as stubborn and tenacious as his pet goat, bless him.
Posted:  10/12/2009

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