Author: Campbell, Bruce

Preparing for the Jamming at Grass Valley

With the huge 35th Anniversary Fatherís Day Festival coming up, itís a good time to make sure youíre properly prepared for the around-the-clock jamming. Trust me, folks Ė it sound easier than it is. But donít worry, some simple preparations will ensure youíll be at your best, find the best jams, and make a lasting impression at each.

Dress for Success. The old adage is, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Your festival jamming garb should make an instant impact and announce from the moment you arrive at a jam that you mean business. The most important way to do this is wear a really cool hat. This could be a really big, or really battered cowboy, festooned with an ostrich feather headband, or it could be a oversize straw hat, or even an especially interesting trucker-style cap. For you younger folks, a knit cap or ďdo ragĒ will suffice.

Remember the Boy Scout Motto. The Boy Scouts have a motto: Be Prepared. This applies to the Fatherís Day Festival, too. Folks, this is not a sprint, itís a marathon, so be a traveling campsite. Carry on your person, at all times, bandaids, extra strings, extra capos, water bottles, beer bottles, granola bars, Wheat Thins, Slim Jims a can of Spam and at least one pocketknife. Also, be sure and wear a stout belt so your trousers wonít fall down in the middle of your solo on New Camptown Races.

Variety is the Spice of Life. Once you find a comfortable jam, it can be tempting to stay there for 36-48 hours straight. It even makes for a good story afterwards. But remember, no matter what youíre doing, youíre missing something else. The Fatherís Day Festival isnít so much of a 3 ring circus as a 200 ring circus. Keep your head on a swivel and your traveliní shoes on to take in as much as possible.

Be a Teacher, and Be a Learner. Whether you consider yourself a master picker or a rank amateur, there will always be players better than you, and there will always be players who wish they could play as well as you. Make an effort to spend time with both groups. Play with better players, and youíll become a better player. Conversely, playing with less experienced pickers will help them become better pickers, too. How fun a person is to hang out with is not directly related to their musical ability. Some great pickers have stunted personalities, and some raw beginners are an absolute hoot! Another truism Ė at least one of those people who pick better than you will be less than half your age...

Bend the Ear of CBA Board Members. How many times have you wished you could personally tell the CBA Board your great ideas, but never could make it to a Board meeting? The Fatherís Day Festival is a great place to get some face time with CBA Board Members. If youíre interested in becoming a CBA Board Member, ask one of us whatís it like and, amazingly, we wonít try to talk you out of it. Not everyone communicates their best in e-mail or on the Message Board. Sometimes, the good old fashioned person-to-person conversation is the best way to express yourself. After all, youíll be there anyway, right? So will we!

Posted:  6/9/2010

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