Grey Fox Bluegrass 2010: Saturday

Words & Photos By J-man
Interviews Filmed By Birchann

Much like the previous day, I awoke on my own accord; to picking in the distance and a cool breezy tent. Off I went to the media tent to edit and upload some photos, post about the activities and re-charge all of the equipment. As well, I composed the interviews for the day and corresponded via e-mail and phone to make last minute arrangements.

The first performance of the day came in the form of a banjo legend. Notably Bela Fleck's influence, and a true pioneer of the five string; Bill Keith. Birchann and I made sure to set aside some time for this special workshop, as it was a one on one instructional lesson from Mr. Keith himself. We sat, ate watermelon and watched the master explain his methods. As he did, folks in the crowd holding their banjos looked down at their instrument with puzzled eyes and a desire to learn.

Bill laughed as he told stories and sang along to some of the tunes as he played. He fielded several questions from the crowd and really opened the door of opportunity to learn from a pro. Following the workshop, I approached Mr. Keith to take him up on an interview that we had arranged the previous day. We walked back to his tee pee, as he wheeled his banjo. Rain clouds were visable in the distance, but it looked as if it would miss us.

Birchann offered Bill some watermelon, which he could not refuse and we waited as there was a woman before me to interview Mr. Keith. She asked Bill questions while her microphone tech stood by smiling. Out of nowhere came a few large gusts of wind and the mad scramble was on. The sky dropped and people began running in all directions. My first instinct was to make sure Bill's banjo was well protected in the middle of the shade tent. Secondly, I ran to his tee pee and secured the door, tying it down to ensure as little rain entering it as possible. Then, our efforts were focused on holding down his shade tent, which didn't appear to be steaked down.

By the end of the madness, I was soaking wet. We couldn't do anything but laugh and smile. What a humerous situation. The woman collected herself and continued with her interview. The sun peaked out just in time for me to ring out my shirt and engage Mr. Keith in conversation.

(The interview will be posted as soon as permission has been granted.)

I was thrilled to have gotten a chance to interview Bill, and I was really looking forward to my next interview. We headed backstage to locate Sam Bush and instead found the promoter of the festival, Mary Beth. I thanked her for the incredible event and expressed how appreciative I was of the staff. She pointed me in the direction of the tour busses and we were on our way.

Arriving at Sam Bush's bus, I knocked on the door and spoke with is raod manager who informed me that Sam was wrapping up an interview and would be with me as soon as possible. Birchann and I stood and watched as another round of storms rolled in. Just before it began to come down, I was summoned aboard the Bush Bus, and lead to the back to have my conversation with Sam.

After the interview we hung out for a bit with Sam and let the rain pass, talking about politics, the oil spill, and joking about his last name being synonymous with one of America's least popular political figures. He then lead us to his bunk where he pulled out his mandolin case to show us some humorous stickers.

We said our goodbyes and headed down the path towards our camp. Right then it hit me. I was done with my interviews and obligations... I could finally let loose! Birchann cooked us a pasta dinner, and we got into the beer and wine. We took the bottle to go and made our way to the mainstage to catch the end of Tim O'Brian. On our way we witnessed a pretty spectacular fireworks display as well as some massive lightning in the distance.

The closing set of the weekend (on the mainstage) was The Sam Bush Band. You could feel the excitement in the air as the stage was prepared for the man of the hour. Sam and his band took the stage after an extensive sound check, with huge smiles on their faces. I was excited to hear "Uncle Pen" right out of the gate! The set was newgrassy and energetic, showcasing the bands talents. I was drawn away from the stage on a few occasions to try to capture the insane lightning show that was occurring all around us. At some point, the sky began to fall... Large, heavy drops of rain. Again folks ran in all directions and for a few moments it got pretty wild.

Under the dinning tent I ran into my friend Steve Haberichter of Down Home Guitars, formerly of Sexfist. As it poured and flashed around us, we looked at the radar on Steve's phone. It didn't look good. The storm was massive... and intense. We snacked on cookies and beer until the rain died down a bit and then ran for the dance tent, which we could hear in the distance.

We arrived to find the Wilders hosting a "super jam" of sorts. It was high energy country music, which meant we would only be staying for a song or two.

A jog back to the tent would reveal a dry sleepable situation. We climbed into the tent, and watched as the lightning picked up around us. It appeared as if the world was ending. Then, in the distance we heard a siren... with that, my eyes closed and Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival came to an end.


  1. Great story, the only thing is, I think that the producer of the festivals' name is Mary Tyler Doub


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