Author: Alvira, Marco

September: Bluegrass Epicenter

I just saw a television commercial for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The kids in the promo looked happy chomping on corn dogs and spinning around on all the rides. The X Games are on ESPN. Despite the relative cool of the last three days, we will soon be back to triple digit temperatures in the Central Valley. Yup, all indications are that we’re still in the middle of summer.

But take a careful look and one can see the harbingers of autumn. There are more stories about football in the newspaper. Baseball teams are approaching the trade deadline before the final push to the fall classic. Orion is peeking up into the night sky a little earlier every evening. Most decidedly, I’m starting back to work after a two month vacation, refreshed in mind and spirit from the marathon that is the school year. Yup, don’t let the dog days of August fool you…Autumn is coming.

Autumn means a lot of things: Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the best bluegrass month of the year. From September 2 to October 1, there will have been seven great events. That’s enough listening and picking to keep anyone satisfied until the Great 48 in Bakersfield. If T.S. Eliot thought April to be the cruelest month, surely his heart would be warmed by all the bluegrass melodies emanating from September…an Indian summer warmed by the after glow of music.

By now, many of you have heard of one the greatest offers you’re likely to ever see: A two for one deal with Plymouth festival and the Hobbs Grove Festival. If you’re not familiar with the details, simply go to Larry Baker’s great festival in Plymouth starting on September 17 and receive a free voucher for the CBA’s Hobbs Grove Bluegrass festival the following weekend, which is—by the way—the very last festival actually happening in September. This is the mother of all economic-hard-times-buster deals. Once the Plymouth festival is over, head on down to Hobbs Grove and camp out for ten dollars a night. By Thursday evening, Kelly Broyles and I will have you ready to go with an electrical hook-up if you reserve one of those spots.

Many Valley bluegrass fans have developed a compulsion for Hobbs Grove over the years. The camping is spacious, the stage venue is cozy and shaded, and the picking environment has the feel of a good, old fashioned back yard jam. The line-up is outstanding this year. As per the mission of the festival, Hobbs will feature many local bands, including: Red Dog Ash, The Kings River Gospelaires, Uncle Ephus, The Smiley Mountain Band, Red Rag Andy, and Groundspeed, as well as Highway 65 from Bakersfield. Area power house and award winning band, The Dalton Mountain Gang will be one of the show’s anchors, as are the amazing Tuttles with A.J. Lee. We’re really proud to also present the red hot Snap Jackson and Knock on Wood Players, Belle Monroe and Her Brewgrass Boys, and 49 Special. We’re fortunate to have so many popular headliners. That stage should be rocking! I can hardly wait!!

As I mentioned, the Hobbs Grove Festival is very special to quite a number of Valley folks, including the author. This festival was the second one I ever attended. It was the warm, intimate environment that encouraged me to join the CBA on the spot several years ago. If this were a Hooked on Bluegrass article, Hobbs Grove would figure prominently in the story. Make the Hobbs Grove Bluegrass Festival part of your bluegrass story. Check out the web site: for more information.. Buy your tickets early and bring a little autumn into your summer.

Posted:  7/31/2010

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