I have never been to a festival or convention for bluegrass before this visit to Appalachian State. The most that I had seen of live bluegrass was at the bluegrass nights when I would go to my volunteer fire station. We bring in once a month, local bands and they would play all night in the station bay, but I never got into it very much at the time. Now that I have been in the class for a bit and started to really get back into the music, I can truly appreciate where it comes from and the place it holds in my own life.
The convention was a true eye opener to the popularity that the genre still holds. I learned a lot about the music and the people that play and the people that just come to listen. The whole experience was new to me, from the music to the handcrafts to the instrument makers. I loved the whole convention! There was an element that came from seeing and hearing the music that you don’t get from the class room. I was able to experience that feeling of community that is talked about in every article. I could distinguish the different sounds with the instruments by seeing them individually on stage.
If I had to say, I think my favorite experience from the entire trip, was listening to the music, and watching other people who were there for the show. There was such a great crowd and when a good tune was being played or a catchy dance was being performed, you could really feel the room come to life. People stomped their feet and clapped their hands. Children played and ran about. It was like a whole new community was formed just for that special weekend.
I talked to quite a few people who crafted the instruments and was able to learn why they do what they do. There was a couple people that quit their other jobs just so they could make instruments. Others got into it because they wanted to impress a girl. And still others just grew up in families were it was expected. But each of them shared a common love for the music and the people that it brought together. That is something that you cannot get out of a book or watching a video. Truly an experience unforgettable.