Yesterday, Wren and I went to the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, KS. This was the 41st festival, and it was amazing.
The whole day was overcast, but all the yearly attendees didn’t mind, because it sounds like it’s been ridiculously hot in past years. I guess that makes sense, since it is Kansas.
We went to this festival totally on a whim, not knowing exactly what to expect. I convinced Wren to leave around 7 am, which took the promise of Varsity Donuts and coffee (which was fine by me). We drove south on 77 until we arrived in Winfield, got a little lost, and then ended up at the gates of the Festival.
The atmosphere was awesome: the perfect balance between a concert and a fair. There were so many different types of people there, but especially prevalent were older people and hipsters. I guess we sort of fell into the latter category (especially now that we both have dyed hair). The booths were full of awesome arts and crafts, and the performances were AMAZING. I really appreciate bluegrass because it’s lasted for a long time, and it changes, but it maintains a solid core style and theme that differentiates it from everything else.
Two of the best performances we saw were the famous bands Mountain Heart and the Steel Wheels. They were both wonderful. (I’m listening to my new Mountain Heart CD as I write this!)
What I learned:
- Bluegrass music has two common themes: traveling and birds
- The mandolin is a magical instrument of awesomeness
- Irish music can be considered bluegrass
- The longer the beard, the bigger the fan
Below is a video of Richard Smith playing “The Watkins Man”. If you’re curious about bluegrass, just watch it. It’ll impress you.
Tonight is dinner with my fabulous best friends, a movie or two, and a bit of procrastination.