Friday, August 8, 2008

259 Bands in One Night!

That's what the schedule called for--86 old-time bands and 173 bluegrass bands were competing in those two categories tonight.

But first, repairs and adjustments to instruments were in order. In this tent, guitar work had the intense attention of the craftsman and the owner.

The next tent had "used" instruments for sale. Calling these simply "used" is like calling a Stradivarius violin listed for sale as a "used" violin. The price on the custom made guitar on the left of the top row was $2200, the 1974 Martin D-18 (second from left) was $1395, and the third from the left was identified as a 1967 Martin D-28 and simply "near mint," which may mean a five-figure price tag.

Even one of the top competitors, Jake Krack (first place 2006, second place 2007 in individual old-time fiddle category), did some repair work on a fiddle in his shop (tent) before returning to final preparations for the night's competition with the fellow members of The Whoopin Hollar String Band (first place 2004, 2006; second place 2007 in old-time band competition).

Vendors, too, were tooling up for a busy evening. We've become fans of the Virginia barbecue rather than the North Carolina barbecue (with a vinegar sauce) being sold at the tent on the left, and we haven't wanted to try a Philly "Steak & Cheese" yet (as compared to a cheesesteak for my non-Philadelphia friends). I think the folks in the tent on the left also sold lemonade.

We could have shown photos of the top bands, but without sound they all look pretty much the same. Except for Kill-Basa Bill's Road Show. I think with this picture you can almost hear this bluegrass band singing "I Met My Baby in the Porta-John Line." True bluegrass? I don't know, but the crowd sure enjoyed the song.

Well, as it turns out we only heard 39 old-time bands. (Remember each band can play for no more than 2 and 1/2 minutes.) 47 bands were "no shows." We left at about 10:15 after hearing 28 bluegrass bands. There was a very long line of bands waiting to perform, so I would guess the competition might well have continued until 1:00 am.

We leave you with this photo.

We have done some tent camping, but that was years ago. There must have been some architectural advances in the tenting industry. We had only a "single family" tent with no garage, storage shed, or other outbuildings.

Progress and innovation.

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