Author: Cornish, Rick

Make it stop. Please, make it stop.

It’s sunny here at Whiskey Creek this morning. But it’s not going to last; storm advisory starting this afternoon and going until Wednesday. My friend Ken Reynolds says I should put on my big boy pants and deal with it. I suppose that’s good advice, but I don’t like this cold, wet weather and I don’t want to deal with it. Please, if there’s anyone out there who can put an end to this crappie weather, please do it. There’s a Fathers Day t-shirt in it for you.

Okay, let me tell you about our board of directors meeting Saturday. It was our last till July….we get June off for good behavior….and it was a good one. Lots covered in a relatively short period of time.

Montie Elston kicked off the show with some awfully good news. For the past few months we’d been psychologically preparing ourselves for contract negotiations with the Nevada County Fairgrounds. (If you read the newspapers it’s pretty hard to miss the hard times local governments are going through right now, and entities like county fairgrounds and state parks are particularly suffering.) So it was with a sigh of relief that we learned that our current contract will be rolled over for another year. There’s a $3,000 bump built in but contract talks could have gotten very sticky given the governor’s current budget so we’re happy to coast another year.

Next I had the privilege and honor to nominate David Brace for the position of State-Wide Activities Vice President. As many of you know, David took over from Steve Tilden on an interim basis and did a terrific job with our Turlock camp out. Well, between Steve, who, by the way, is doing well and looking at increasingly better health, and Bob Thomas, grandpa of the State-Wide VP job, they were able to help David see the light and accept the position. Vice President Brace is currently looking for a fall camp out site….one with a more northern location but without the Friday night destruction derby races for which the Colusa Fairgrounds is notorious. We’ll have a location by July, but for you planners out there, mark your calendar for the third weekend in October.

Each meeting we get started by looking at any vacant leadership positions we have, and one that will be vacant come October is our Membership Vice President job, so we talked a little about how to replace the heroic Carolyn Faubel. Please, if you would consider a busy job with heavy responsibility for one super-terrific non-profit organization, contact me at

Lisa Burns made her report to the board on her final arrangements for this year’s FDF sponsors. Mainly it’s the same list of the same generous suspects, each stepping up once again to show their support for the CBA. We’re at $17,000 this year, mostly in the form of products…, banjos, mandos, etc. Thanks to the dozen or so corporations that annually pony up for the Association, and a special thanks to Lisa who’s sweetly tenacious approach to solicitation always seems to get the job done.

As we do each year at this time we had the pleasure of Larry Baker’s company at our board meeting. Once again he made his pre-festival report on concessions for Fathers Day. We’ll see essentially the same food vendors as last year but there’ll be somewhat of a turn over on non-food vendors. Larry shared that the still weak economy has discouraged some of the past vendors from returning but he’s assured us he’ll replace them with new ones. It was good to see Larry back from the desert, tanned and smiling that life-is-good smile.

The board next talked some about our S.H.A.R.E.S Program and discussed strategies for getting SHARES cards out to attendees at Grass Valley. S.H.A.R.E.S., you’ll recall, stands for Supporting Humanities, Arts, Recreation, Education and Sports and is an efficient, no-hassle way for CBA members to bolster the Associations finances. You simply hand the grocery clerk your SHARES card when you buy food each week and a percentage goes directly to the California Bluegrass Association. So we’ll be doing our level best at the Fathers Day Festival this year to get cards into the hands of as many members as possible. Please consider taking and using one of the SHARES cards. Oh, and if you’d like to get started right away, just click here.

At this point in the meeting we broke for a quick executive session, (this is when everyone but board members excuse themselves and we consider contractual issues.) I’m happy to report that our Bluegrass Breakdown Editor, Mark Varner, was granted a 7% cost of living increase, the first he’s had since 2008. Not as much as we’d like to have given, but no stick in the eye either.

Next, Mark delivered, via me, a report from our Talent Advisory Group. So far we’ve booked Seldom Scene and the U.S. Navy Band for Fathers Day 2012. Very, very exciting third band we’re working with but not contracted yet.

Now here’s a very, very cool development. Our newest board member, Marcos
Alvira, delivered to the board of directors a proposal to initiate a weekly California Bluegrass Association Radio Show. Yes, you heard right…the Association is hitting the airwaves. Actually Marcos brought the idea to the board in April, but Saturday he was ready to make the formal proposal and it was accepted unanimously. Marcos has secured a Tuesday, 7 to 10 p.m. slot from the radio station at Stanislaus State University, KCSS 91.9FM. He’ll be rotating dj’s onto the weekly show and you can bet we’ll be hearing from a host of special guests. KCSS has a quite strong signal throughout the valley and, in addition, will be broadcast to the ENTIRE WORLD via the Internet. You’ll be hearing more about this new and exciting entre’ into the broadcast world but, for now, let’s have three cheers for our pal Marcos.

And here’s some more big news: the CBA will be piloting a new California Band Showcase at the Great 48 Hour Jam in Bakersfield in 2012. Craig Wilson and Kevin Gregory have been working the past three months or so on this new endeavor and on Saturday they were finally able to present the concept to the board for its consideration. Rather than the regular concert held the Thursday night before the Great 48, the Association will feature four California bands. Here’s how it will work….All California-based non-touring bands will be invited to send in a recording of three songs; the entries will be judged by a panel of three bluegrass/old-time DJ’s, one from the north, one from the south and one from Central CA; the panel will select four bands, each of which will be paid $500 to play a 30 minute set at the Doubletree Hotel on the Thursday night before the 48 Hour Jam. The same three judges will be in attendance at the Thursday night show and select a winner, which will be given a slot on the Pioneer Stage at the 2012 Fathers Day Festival. Craig and Kelvin’s plan was discussed at our April meeting and the refined proposal was approved last Saturday with a good deal of enthusiasm. The Great 48 Band Showcase will provide some very fine entertainment to kick off the weekend jam, it will provide the Association with the chance to hire four additional California bands in 2012 and it will bring a big bunch of new pickers to our annual Bakersfield picking frenzy. Good work Craig and Kelvin!

After breaking for some mighty fine pizza and peach pie, the board reviewed final preparations for the Fathers Day Festival, approved a new web site programming contract, discussed a program for recognizing venues that regularly feature bluegrass and old-time music and heard from our membership, treasury and area activities officers. Overall, a very productive meeting.

See you in GV!

Posted:  5/16/2011

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