I had the immense joy of spending the day in Benson, AZ yesterday, listening to all the Bluegrass bands scheduled for the day at the Fifth Annual Benson Bluegrass Festival. Some great bands! I’m grateful for a couple of LoW members who informed me of this event, and who provided transportation to the location. I even extended my stay at the Ranch so I could go.
Although we had to get up much earlier than ‘normal’ (I got up at 5:00 a.m.) to get on the road for the three hour trip, it was well worth it. The only glitch was that we forgot that Arizona is not on daylight savings time, so we actually arrived an hour early and had to wait for the gate to open so we could pay admission.
One of the highlights was seeing the Jam Pak Neighborhood Band, a group of youngsters who are learning to play Bluegrass style music. These kids range from very small to teens, and they play a variety of instruments including bass, fiddle, guitar and banjo. Through this experience they also learn how to play in small groups, sing, and develop stage presence. While the other bands were much more professional, these kids gave great performances with a lot of heart.
The weather was great, sunny and warm. Later the wind picked up and brought a slight chill. All-in-all though, a great day to sit outside and listen to music that you really like!
The food was pretty good, too. For $6 one could get a ‘meal’ of barbecue sandwich, rib, and beans, and it was pretty tasty. I also ‘had’ to get some ice cream later – a treat that I don’t eat very often. Yum!
There were other vendors selling their wares, and booths for the various Bluegrass associations in Arizona. I visited the Desert Bluegrass Association (DBA) booth as I was a member when I lived in Tucson. Their weekly workshops are something I miss when it comes to learning my instrument. The DBA is sponsoring a Bluegrass event in late October, and I hope to be there, ‘camped’ in the casino parking lot near where the music will be. I think it’s possible I could become a ‘follower’ of these festivals!