The 23rd Annual Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival concluded Sunday, Aug. 14 at the San Benito County Historical Park, where more than 25 Bluegrass music bands and artists performed. By rough estimate, more than 100 cars, RV's and trailers packed the park with campers pitching tents to enjoy the summer fun, down-home live music and brave the 90-degree heat in Tres Pinos.
According to some sources, about 60 percent of attendees of the three-day festival play or perform music either on stage or after hours around camp sites.
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a related genre of country music. Influenced by the music of Appalachia, Bluegrass has mixed roots in Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and English traditional music, and was also later influenced by the music of African-Americans through incorporation of jazz elements. Unlike mainstream country music, bluegrass is traditionally played on acoustic stringed instruments. The fiddle, five-string banjo, guitar, mandolin, and upright bass (string bass) are often joined by the resonator guitar (also referred to as a Dobro) and (occasionally) harmonica or jaw harp.
The festival also featured workshops for musicians to learn musical techniques of various instruments, harmony and other skill sets peculiar to Bluegrass music.
The unsung hero to any concert is the production crew chief or sound and lights engineer who amplifies the music and illuminates the artists for the benefit of the audience. Paul Knight deserves credit for his skills transforming a new, untested venue and stage with the available electrical infrastructure resources at the Historical Park.
Don Pidd, caretaker of the Historical Village property and board member of the SBC Historical Society, led crowded tours of the historical village including the cottage bar (selling water and soft drinks for this event), dance hall, one-room school house, general store, pharmacy and jail. Pidd said that feedback was overwhelmingly positive from enthusiastic attendees anxious to return to the Historical Park next year.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE...LITERALLY
Pidd thanked the volunteers and other nonprofit organizations, including San Benito County government, for their support to help make this event happen. Historical Society president Delbert Doty designed and helped build the brand new stage. The Community Foundation for San Benito County donated funds to help build the new stage with volunteer labor support from E Clampus Vitus members - Monterey Viejo chapter, CalFire crews as well as individuals from the community. Special thanks were extended to Dan Lynch for extending electrical lines to the new stage area and Karl Skow for decorating the new stage with antique artifacts, saddles and other 20th Century livery equipment.
The San Benito County Historical Society encourages other nonprofit organizations to check out the Historical Park and Village to consider producing future special events and concerts at this community venue.
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