Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Spring, spring, SPRING! The weather right here in the middle of March (as I write this column) just makes you want to grab that lawn chair and head for the nearest BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL. They're coming and not a minute too soon. I am ready. Ready for the old surge of the excitement of getting back to the folks we see at the festivals, seeing so many of our favorite performers and artists and having the opportunity to introduce many of them to the audiences. It's all very much a dream that keeps coming true each spring and summer.

Part of all of this dream has been the good fortune to be able to do the radio show at WFPL [Sunday Bluegrass, 89.3, 8:30-11 p.m.] and the radio shows that I have done in the past. This in tum has opened up the opportunity to be on stage with many of the artists I have played and serve as an MC. As if that weren't enough, I have been privileged to continue to gain the trust and friendship of many of these artists, 'and for that I am grateful.

Festivals, ah yes. Another word about the support of festivals. I think we can all agree on several points. We want good festivals. We like them close by, but that is not always the way. When a great festival, although "new" and has the potential of becoming one of the premier season kick-off festivals in the country, is close to home it has to have support. We all know that to get a successful festival going those involved sometimes have to bite the bullet for a few building years to realize the full potential and results in the future. Either you want itor you don't. If you don't like a bluegrass festival because of personal biases and are in a position to do so, kill it with non-support. Never mind the potential and other side benefits. Don't let pride and prejudice, no matter what or where the source, destroy the potential of total success.

Locally, the success and ultimate fate of the Otter Creek Park bluegrass festival is perhaps in the hands of you. Right now through May 26-28, I995, is the time to show support for this festival. As I have pointed out previously in this column, there is not a better deal in bluegrass festivals out there. An advanced ticket is less than $7 a day for many of the top names in the business. Rarely, if ever, could you see any of these acts singularly for the price.

I mentioned side benefits of a top festival in this area. Consider the national attention that is brought to the Louisville area and the great facilities available at Otter Creek Park. Seems to me Louisville as well as the state of Kentucky should actively support and promote such an event that will and can bring thousands of visitors to the state that gave the world the truly genuine American music that we call bluegrass.

Support bluegrass festivals if you want this family-oriented form of pleasure and entertainment to continue; it's a rare example of clean, pure entertainment you would not be ashamed to take your mother or kids to enjoy just as you do. Not much entertainment out there that fits three to four generations of a family all at one time. No pushing, crowding, disorderly conduct; just a few thousand folks all coming together in one location for one and the same purpose and in the process often making new friends. Anyone should be proud to support and be a part of an event of this kind.

Yes, there are other festivals and shows in the near future:

The Kentucky Friends of Bluegrass at Clay City, Ky., in addition to their regular Saturday lineup, will have an IBMA Benefit show April 15.

May 19-21 at Red Mile Race Track, Lexington, Ky., 20 bands for 20 bucks include Osborne Bros., J.D. Crowe & New South, The New Tradition, Eastbound, Lonesome Standard Time, Sam Wilson and others.

Local bluegrass shows include the 2nd and 4th Saturday nights at Henryville, Ind., the 3rd and 5th Saturday nights at Scottsburg, lnd. and the Friday night shows at Shepherdsville, Ky.

Shepherdsville lineup: April 7, Alan Phelps Bluegrass Band; 14th, Eddie Adcock Band; 21st, Furman Boyce & Harmony Express (all gospel); 28th, Jim & Jesse; and May 5, The Sand Mountain Boys. The opportunity is there folks; it's up to you. Talk is cheap, so are these great festivals and shows.

P.S. Advance tickets for the Otter Creek festival are available at Disc Jockey Records, ear X-tacy, Blue Moon Records in Holiday Manor, by mail order from Otter Creek Park and when you see me at Shepherdsville I will have them there. Call me during my show Sunday nights on WFPL at 574-1753.