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Bluegrass Rambles

Everything you need to know about bluegrass, whatever that is

Ted is an IBMA-nominated music writer who travels to bluegrass festivals with his wife and picks guitar in as many jams as he can.

Bluegrass Rambles

Everything you need to know about bluegrass, whatever that is

Ted is an IBMA-nominated music writer who travels to bluegrass festivals with his wife and picks guitar in as many jams as he can.

Improving the Bluegrass Festival Experience for All

@Ted: I think you can distill this down to about one sentence: Use common sense, and be considerate and respectful of others. It doesn't apply to  just bluegrass festivals, but life in general. Might be time to reprint my behavior guide to summer festivals from last year, where I tackled other questions such as 'should you keep your shirt on or take it off'. Enjoy the show this weekend.

Thanks, Ed. Then how would I get to 1000 words? But seriously, no one thinks they're the problem, so it's important to be specific. Please send me your festival guide

The festival experience was born back in the Woodstock era when literally anything goes applied. I won't detail it but I've seen it all. We are talking about a different genre, a different day, and hopefully a different outlook now. I hate it when I go to hear music and someone talks loudly throughout the songs. But I get the idea that festivals are a more social experience and it "ain't no concert hall" as I have been told after complaining.

I went to Grateful Dead concerts in the 70s and I have to say the fans back then were rarely drunk, always polite, and genuinely tread lightly around their fellow music lovers. It is never that way anymore. I have been told that I should rent a condo when I asked the young people to turn down their ghetto blaster playing rap music at 4am in the Telluride campgrounds. That ain't right. I have never asked anyone playing acoustic instruments to stop jamming regardless of the hour as the music just gently puts you to sleep. There is generally a lot less respect for others in the world today than 20 years ago and it keeps getting worse. Feastivals are not immune and I wish it weren't so. Perhaps there should be an anything goes section and a respect you brother section but sadly, I don't think it would help much.

Thanks for that perspective. I'd hate to think that my comments merely represent the ravings of an old curmugeon. The ethics of "flower children" did indeed represent some ideals and behavior worth maintaining. The concern about rampant meism is real and the behavor pervasive. We recently saw a delightful t-shirt with this message on the back: Is the music interrupting your conversations? Many's the time I wish I had one of those to wear.

In response to making bluegrass experience better for all of us.  Ted Lehman has a lot of good things to address.  Smoking around children and other people is extremely bad for their health. Doctors are finding out that this second hand smoke has a lot of bad  health experiences for everyone. I love bluegrass music, and when I was younger,I used to be a Grateful Dead Fan. There used to be walls of American Deadheads Smoking large amounts of Marijuania. It was illegal, yet usually the police looked the other way. Today,marijuania is for all points and experience,legal. I never dreamed back then , it would ever be legal. Today, I hate the stuff, I have neighbors who smoke it all over the place. It can be good for cancer sufferers. and also for people with seizure disorders,but you do not have to smoke it. Worse for you is the cigarette smoke.  People that follow the bluegrass circuit like Ted does, they are smaller venues, and most bands are still traditional and there for a hot pickin' and singing time. There are lots of bands that include Gospel music in their act and play not alot differently than Flatt and Scruggs. I go to smaller shows at venues like the Sellersville Theatre or The Keswick Theatre. Last groupI saw was Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, one of the best. Bluegrass can be very therapeutic music. I still can play a little bit, and I enjoy every note I can still play. No Depression is fortunate to have someone to share what's going on in Bluegrass, like Ted.

Thanks so much, Jim. I hope we cross paths one of these days.