Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Feels or felt like July was attempting to balance out the cold, cold winter. It was HOT but I don't have to tell you that. Guess the electric companies must be tickled to death. You know, all the extra fans and air conditioners going over time. Fall is still ahead and who can guess. May be an unbelievable mix of some sort. Nothing we can do so take it as it comes.

Let's switch to something we can make an effort to improve. Unfortunately it seems a lot of bluegrass festivals and shows are facing a challenge. Attendance at many has not been up to par for awhile. There are a number of causes/explanations for this: gas prices for one, general expenses, competition of various kinds including other festivals, which in some cases tends to split the crowds. Some are losing by making changes which often results in a trade off. Will the gain of different attendees balance the attendance loss of long time faithful? I told you that to tell you this, as Ron Thomason would say.

Here's a current example. A local festival that I have attended regularly since I first learned about it is coming up on Saturday the 24th of this month. The 10th Annual Bluegrass 101 Bluegrass Festival at Bullitt County Fairgrounds Exit 112 off of I 65. Show time is noon 'til 10 pm. The line up includes Bluegrass 101, Paul Williams & the Victory Trio, Stone Cold Grass, Mountain Drive and Wendy Miller and Country Grass. Many of you who have been attending for years may notice a change this time. One of those you don't have to make but circumstances require. What has been a TWO-day festival for years is now one-day. That's what I'm talking about, supporting bluegrass music, it's pickers and promoters. To paraphrase a line from a good old song, Don't let our bluegrass die like flowers in the fall.

I had the good fortune and neighbors invited me to be their guest and attend the Stephen Foster Story at Bardstown this past month, with a dinner before. It was one of the nights weather forced the SFS to move into the school. None the less, it was a great show. I had seen it years ago and appreciated this opportunity very much. The cast sets and performance was excellent. To sum it easily, this is an event to take guest/visitors to. A night to remember.

A few other when-and-wheres to wrap this up. The Vine Grove bluegrass jams are every other Friday nights counting with the first Friday. They are in Optimist Park. The heat is really not as bad as many anticipate it to be, especially under the trees in a breeze. Starting around 7 pm 'til about 10. Good folks, good music and good fellowship. In case of rain it is moved into City Hall. BA jams in Louisville Weds. @ BBC St. Matthews, 3929 Shelbyville Road 7:30 pm. Weds. Relick & Friends @ Monkey Wrench, 1025 Barrett Ave. 9 pm.. Thurs. nights Hickory Vaught & Friends @ Blu Café Marriott Hotel, 280 W. Jefferson. Open Jam @ Hillview City Hall, 6 pm. .

I think that's about gonna do it for us this time. Just set back Sunday nights, turn that radio up a bit louder and broadcast 'er to the neighbors; "Sunday Bluegrass with The Country Gentleman" from 8 11pm. On WFPK 91.9 It IS bluegrass, traditional country and old time country on the shortest, fastest and bestest three hours in radio.