Future Bluegrass Stars perform at the Thomas Point
Beach Bluegrass Festival in Brunswick, Maine.
Now that winter is on its way we're all looking forward to indoor
music events. There will be some excellent choices in and around
Connecticut. Both the CT Bluegrass Music Association and CT Friends
of Bg are gearing-up for their seasons. For you pickers out there,
check the list (at the end of this article) of Bluegrass Jams within
an hour's drive from anywhere in the state. As always, make sure
you call ahead to confirm each event.
It was a long, dry summer for most festival-goers and festival
promoters. Hopefully everyone benefited from the lack of rain by
being able to see their favorite bands and festival friends...even
if your gardens did take a beating! The highlight of the year for
most of the New England & Canadian fans was the 25th Thomas
Point Beach Bg Festival! It was an awesome week of the best in Bluegrass
music, and some of the best Bluegrass fans on the circuit were there
to pick and visit old friends...many of who hadn't attended that
festival in 20 or more years. It was like stepping back in time
seeing all those familiar faces all in one place once again. The
down-side of the TPB festival is that owner/promoter Pati Crooker
announced she was closing the gates for 2003, but hopes to return
"bigger and better than ever" on Labor Day Weekend, 2004.
So make your plans now...you won't find a better festival for campsite
jam sessions, fishing, kayaking, and swimming!
On a sad note, the Bluegrass world lost a great, perhaps one of
its greatest, supporters in Ray Waters that very same Labor Day
Weekend. Ray, and wife Alice, were familiar by sight, if not by
name, to many of you who have been attending concerts/festivals
since the late 1970s. They were the elderly couple who wore caps
embroidered with "Bluegrass Fans No. 1 & No. 2". They
always sat in the front row applauding wildly for hours...even for
two or three days at a time...for their favorite bands, which were
most of the groups in any given lineup. I once saw Ray & Alice
attend all three festivals we performed at in one weekend -- from
CT on a Friday, to MA on Saturday, and finally way up in northwestern
NY on Sunday. There they were, after driving all night, sitting
in the front row for our 8am Gospel set. Alice passed our rig on
the NY Thruway late that night at about 75mph! At Alice's request
(or I should say, command!) Ray's funeral service was full of Bluegrass
music. We all shared instruments and played for about 90 minutes.
It will be strange looking out from the stage at first, not seeing
Ray making gestures and giving the "thumbs-up" from his
chair, but Alice will carry the torch and we'll look forward to
seeing her back on the Bluegrass trail.
Del McCoury Band at Grey Fox Festival 2002
Program Guide, 2002