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Darrel Adkins isn't much of a speech maker. The festival is about commememorating his daughter Mandy's tragic loss to cancer through providing support to St. Jude and about the music. While he is very much in charge of the festival, he generally keeps to the background, letting the music and the spirit it builds speek for themselves. In his words, though, he linked the appearance of the Children's Band to the future of bluegrass music. He spoke about change and people's resistance to it, emphasizing the changes that had occurred in the early days as Bill Monroe worked to achieve the sound he imagined. He asked whether bands now considered to be standard bearers like the Country Gentlemen, Seldom Scene, Jim & Jesse, The Osborne Brothers and others would have emerged had they not brought something new and different to bluegrass. He also suggested that every band at a bluegrass festival didn't have to appeal to every individual's taste or idea of what constituted bluegrass music. People, he maintained, could use bands that weren't to their taste as an opportunity to stretch their legs, get something to eat, take a nap, or even listen to a new and different sound to see whether they might like it. He argued that someone new to bluegrass music might hear a new and unusual band, like it, and become interested in what led the band to the music it was creating, and through that insight begin to seek out the roots. In such a process, he maintained, the future of bluegrass music could be assured. Throughout the day, fans came up to him and thanked him for his message.
1434 S. 3B's & K Rd.
Galena, OH 43021
The final two events of The MACC were what the festival calls "Classic Performances." On Saturday night, two entirely different groups of musicians played and sang quite different music with participants you might never see together again. Dudley Connell spearheaded a group of musicians who love and cherish traditional bluegrass. Their set list was filled with songs by the Stanley Brothers, the Louvin Brothers, Reno and Smiley, Bill Monroe, and Flatt & Scruggs. Connell brings such an infectious enthusiasm to his performance, and his band mates were so involved and with him in the effort, that no one could resist the work. If every band calling itself traditional could bring such life and power to the music, there might never again be a question about the future of traditional bluegrass. Here's some pictures from that set: