Pickers come to bluegrass festival to listen — and play

Betsy Stoneback of Dillon brings her bass along while camping at the Palisade Bluegrass Festival, where she joins up with other campers to play, impromptu-style.



Many of the people who follow bluegrass festivals come not only to hear music played by professionals, but to enjoy picking tunes with fellow campers.

‘We get to play music as well as listen to it,” said Mike Morrman of Boulder, while he strummed the strings on his guitar.

He and his wife, Betty Becker, drove their 43-year-old orange Volkswagen van into the campground as soon as the gates opened for the Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Festival at Riverbend Park early Friday afternoon.

Even before pulling out a cooler, they sat down under the shade of a tent and started playing guitar and fiddle. They were soon joined by Lea Price of Mission, Texas. She borrowed a mandolin and together they played a common old-time song, “Soldier’s Joy.” The talented musicians sounded as though they had played together for a long time.

“I was just out walking around and these folks were gracious enough to let me join them,” Price said.


Late into the night, impromptu groups of musicians join together to play in the campground, a venue unto itself, aside from the main stage.

“Just wait until everyone gets here,” Morrman said, “There’ll be some serious jamming in the evening.”

Price said she loves the friendly and welcoming atmosphere in the festival’s campground. “Being able to come together and play together is just a lot of fun,” she said.

Occasionally a good jam will attract an audience — perhaps even a clogger or two.

Even those just learning to play are encouraged to give jamming a try. Betsy Stoneback of Dillon is just learning to play bass. She plays with a group of friends that are meeting at the campground this weekend, but she said she never feels intimidated by the other players.

It’s that friendly atmosphere and camaraderie that makes many bluegrass fans travel to the next festival. Most of the campers said they plan on camping at at least a half-dozen festivals this summer.

But the Palisade festival is one of the summer favorites among seasoned festival-goers. “This is a very nice, low-key festival,” Morrman said, “It’s a pretty good one.”

Music on the main stage begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday night with Missed The Boat, followed by Hot Buttered Rum at 7:30 p.m.

The festival continues through Sunday. For complete ticket information and band line-up, visit http://www.palisademusic.com.

 

 

 


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