Festivals are Families

Recently I read, “The Portable Communities” by Owens Gardener. The “portable communities” he referred to were the communities found at the smaller bluegrass festivals. It describes the way people interact at festivals, and how festivals tend to bring people together. I enjoyed the writing because it perfectly describes what I define as Bluegrass music.

To me, Bluegrass music has always been a way to tie a community together and make it a family. The Gardener piece described that feeling. The piece discussed people inviting others to eat dinner with them at the festivals or to come around a pick with them. It talked about the older people picking with the younger ones and helping them to learn new cords and new styles to music. Most importantly, it perfectly reflected the low discrimination at the festivals. The older generation picked with the younger generation, the men and a few women played guitars together, and the Americans played with a few Japanese artists. In the end, everyone respected each other and everyone played the music and listened to the bands.

The piece really hit home in the effect that it clarified why everyone got along so well. Everyone had a common interest. Everyone that attend the festival, wanted to be there and wanted to hear the music and pick banjos, strum guitars, and make the old fiddles whine. It was what they wanted to do. It was that passion that made them travel all over the country in order to visit festivals and make small communities. It was the passion that made the people and the people that made the communities that made the festivals.  

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