Roger Moss, Director of the Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival, is a man of vision who not only brings top national bands to E. Hartford's Martin Park, he seeks to develop new bands you'll be recognizing as great ones ten years in the future and to hire bands he hears before they have become household names. To that end, he's instituted a new song writer's contest, which was held on Friday, and combined the winning song with the band competition held on Sunday, this year for the fourth time. This conflation of two events brings together new songs and unknown bands, forcing the bands to show what they can do with material new to them as well as giving them the opportunity to showcase two or three of their best songs. The effectiveness of the band competition is attested to by the acclaim being experienced by Gold Heart, the contest winner two years ago and now a candidate for nomination for several IBMA awards. Members of last year's winning band, The Packway Handle Band, told me that just appearing and winning had vastly broadened their opportunities, because they were heard by so many people previously unfamiliar with their work. In addition, they earned a place in this year's lineup
Space considerations prohibit my putting more pictures of Kids Academy participants on my blog. However, here's a key that will take parents and other interested people to a portfolio of sixty photographs Irene and I took on Sunday. While the pictures are copyrighted, feel free to help yourself to them for your personal use on line or for printing.
Sound by Rosewood Sound was exceptional by any standard. Throughout the festival, working with a very wide range of bands, the sound was crystal clear, well modulated, and on-stage changes were made quickly and effectively. Every band I talked to complimented the sound in private as well as publicly. For photographers, the lighting was less obtrusive and more helpful than is usually the case at bluegrass festivals.
- Content - Appearance, Use of time, appropriate material.
- Originality - Original material or interpretation of others works.
- Musical Ability - Vocal/instrumental ability, tone, intonation and difficulty.
- Stage Presence - Group communication, fluidity, audience appeal and entertainment value.
- Overall Impression
The Crunchy Western Boys
Performers at Podunk are kept happy, too. From their greeting at the gate, where they are parked and then transported to the performance area, to the provision of lighted merchandise tents with tables and chairs provided, to the high quality food prepared in a full field kitchen, performers are treated like the professionals they are. Podunk has continued to grow throughout its fifteen year history. It has become a powerhouse for both entertainment and innovation. Next year's Podunk will run from August 4 - 7, 2011. Put it on your schedule now.