Ever since we unloaded our trailer from IBMA last October it has sat dormant in the corner of our back parking lot, patiently waiting the soothing sounds of birds chirping, lawn mowers and banjo music! The 2014 festival season is finally among us and it seems to have arrived as fast as it left us last October as Gill and I drove home from Raleigh, NC. As we began planning for this year’s season we were all very set on making it to a couple festivals that we had not been able to attend in the last few years.
Last year was an epic festival season for both Capo’s Music Store and the bluegrass community. From the cold misty rain in Galax for HoustonFest, the Mount Airy Old-Time and Bluegrass Fiddlers Convention and a beautiful weekend with Ralph Stanley up on the mountain for the Hills of Home Festival. The famous first full week in August and my personal favorite week of the year is always spent in Felts Park for the Galax Fiddlers convention. The 12 hour days I spend in our booth for the store are always paid off with a nights of jamming with friends from across the country that I only see once a year. As the year moves on through late summer, we are blessed to be right down the road from one of music’s best kept secret and a music festival unlike any other, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion. It has gained a huge attendance and has seen the likes of Steep Canyon Rangers, Sam Bush, Tony Rice and many more bluegrass and Americana greats, grace the stages on and around State Street. The weekend spent in Bristol is special, having some of the world’s greatest bands come to our back yard instead of us going to them for once.
It seemed that as soon as we got the trailer unloaded from Rhythm and Roots, Gill and I were headed down to IBMA and the World of Bluegrass 2013. This was my first experience attending IBMA and was very impressed with how welcoming the city of Raleigh was to the bluegrass community. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon and I got straight to business, catching Balsam Range and The Boxcars back to back in a little hole in the wall venue downtown. Again, spending three days stuck at our booth was worth all the new friends we met, music we played and history we got to witness. The Awards Ceremony offered up the biggest moment our music world has witnessed in many years. Seeing Tony Rice not only play for the first time in years but talk in his normal voice put goose bumps on the whole room and gave everyone hope that one day, Tony will be back on stage not only playing but singing!
Festivals have become much more than an excuse to drive too far or stay up way too late to listening and playing music for me. A music festival is a place where you make friends with the family that is camped beside you or you share a tent with another fan while listening to your favorite band in the blazing sun. I have never been part of a closer bunch of fans than the bluegrass world. I have ran into the same people that attend Bristol Rhythm and Roots and been sitting right beside them on a city bus after a day at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco, CA. I have stood beside a group of friends listening to The Infamous Stringdusters at Telluride Bluegrass Festival and they have walked into Capo’s Music Store the next week. Do yourself a favor and get out there this season and attend a festival and experience what I have grown to love over the past few years of my life. Don’t forget to look for Capo’s while you’re there too!
Assistant Director of Retail Sales at Capo's Music Store