About Me

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Pomfret, CT, United States
I use this blog to maintain and promote bluegrass and to showcase artists and festivals.

Friday, December 26, 2008

2008 Joe Val Workshops

The workshops at Joe Val fill up early and many are left standing outside the rooms hoping to get a spot. Here Frank Wakefield gives pointers along with humorous tales of his long and notable career

Richard Brown and Frank Wakefeld

Frank Wakefield, Phil Zimmerman, and BBU staff

Tim Stafford held a session on guitar rhythm and creating breaks

Tim Stafford

August Watters teaches the art of cross picking

August Watters

Audie Blaylock talks about guitar breaks

Audie Blaylock

Dave Dillon, Richard Brown, and Margaret Gerteis

Rich Stillman shares his knowledge with some dedicated students

Rich Stillman

BBU staff member teaches mandolin backup technique
Michael Cleveland mesmerizes the class with his superb playing

Michael Cleveland

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


There’s been much talk, lately, about the demise of the Bluegrass Now magazine which had published news and reviews of bluegrass artists, promoters and the like for eighteen years or so. Much of the blame for the lack of financial success, has been laid on the fans of the music who failed to support the magazine, and of course you have to sell subscriptions to stay viable But it seems to me there were just too many magazines about bluegrass music. The fan base for bluegrass is small, too small to support several magazines reporting on the same touring artists and festivals especially with competition from the internet based discussion boards and blogs where you can read about just everything that’s going on in the genre.

Another area on shaky ground is live performances. Too many promoters are losing their shirts trying to provide good bluegrass music to fans that just will not come out and support it. In recent months I have traveled to shows featuring top national bands like Del McCoury, Dan Paisley, New Found Road and others who performed to small audiences much less than anticipated by the promoter prompting one to say he’d " probably not do this again." If fans continue to stay at home rather than support the music there will be few willing to risk their resources in promoting live bluegrass? At one point I took a chance and produced one event with a regional band of good quality. I exhausted myself advertising the event in several towns, in print and on the radio and on internet bluegrass lists only to be disappointed by the turnout. I ended up using several hundred dollars of my own money to fulfill my obligations. Would I do it again? Not likely.

Below, Dan Paisley and Southern Grass perform at a well attended festival, unfortunately, at a venue in Massachusetts, the turnout for Dan was not enough for the promoter to break even

Donnie Eldreth Jr. and Dan Paisley

My one attempt at promoting live bluegrass was not a success and caused me to cut short my promoting career. However, should I come into a hefty inheritance I would restart my career even if it lost money just to expose people to this wonderful music

Life Star airlifting my checkbook to a Critical Care facility