Monday, February 1, 2010
YeeHaw Junction 2010 - Sunday and Assessment
Sundays at Bluegrass Festivals present problems for all bluegrass promoters. The question is: How do we offer a worthwhile Sunday program while much of the audience is heading home to resume real life? Many festivals have discovered that their festivals work out better as three day events and have given up even trying to have Sunday performances. Keith Bass and Victor Hall, the new promoters at YeeHaw Junction, took a chance on booking two strong bands from outside the region and two excellent family bands who have garnered strong support through the afternoon and came up aces. While the audiences dwindled as the afternoon wore on, those remaining were vastly entertained and sad to see the weekend come to a close.
Once again Hard Ryde proved itself to be an interesting and high quality band which deserves much more attention on the southern side of the border...that's the U.S. border, not the Mason-Dixon Line. Instrumentally and vocally they are just plain excellent.
Bluegrass Gospel Sing and Jam
Mike and Mary Robinson take their missionary evangelical ministry to the bluegrass community to dozens of bluegass festivals each year. On Sunday they hold their Bluegrass Sing and Jam, featuring a brief prayer and message from Preacher Mike and lots of singing of the good old familiar songs. In addition, Mike is one of the best emcees on the circuit, keeping the show on time, highlighting the vendors, and providing brief, accurate, and interesting introductions. No one but the Robinsons themselves knows the breadth and depth of their spiritual and personal counseling work among the bluegrass community.
Rich Koop and Marc Roy
D'Arcy Campbell and Will Meadows
Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike
Emcee Evan Carl
...And So It Ends
The Bass and Hall families have combined to take on promoting a major Florida festival. They kept much of what Steve Dittman had developed over the years while bringing some of their own ideas and values to the effort. After many years of producing YeeHaw Junction, Steve stepped down while gracefully supporting the efforts of the new promoters. He was in evidence, but always supportive and helpful. Keith and Victor increased the number and power of electric hookups, and the electricity was completely reliable during the weekend. They also brought in a rather elaborate flush toilet facility that had some plumbing problems, but seemed to be a welcome addition. Next year they will be able to program the entire festival to suit their understanding of the tastes of the customers. The combination of family bands and a few very good national bands provided a good balance. It was a particular treat to experience a new band, Hard Ryde from Candada, at YeeHaw Junction. With careful planning, they should be able to take advantage of the cruise schedules to help them in continuing to book good bands. On the whole, while they still have something to learn about the festival promotion business, YeeHaw Junction was tremendous success, and should continue to draw bluegrass bands to its lovely and isolated site during late January.