Whenever I think of bluegrass, I think of the busted banjo my dad has kept in a corner of his living room my entire life. It’s a heavy old thing that I learned early on not to touch because it would start to crumble like a delicate skeleton every time I tried dusting the black leathery case. He listened to more classic rock than bluegrass, but I remember his mock-banjo-picking with his mouth, always loud, always abrasive, always kinda funny.
It wasn’t until the last couple of years that bluegrass really became a part of my life. More non-bluegrass musicians started adding the wiry twang of the banjo and mandolin to their songs. The days of my friends rocking out with electric guitars and mini amps were taken over by acoustic song and banjo sessions around campfires, where we all join in with our voices, some more timid than others.
So with the newfound love of bluegrass, we have made our local Bluegrass Festival a tradition. We take our blankets and chairs and retreat in our little shady corner between the stage and the river, and enjoy the music for an afternoon in September. This is a little of how it goes: