For the Love of Bluegrass

A taste of Durango, Colorado.
with a little promotional tip jar hidden in there for a video these folks will be putting together of this year’s 20th Anniversary Durango Bluegrass Meltdown.
Considering I’ve recently broken through another luddite barrier with this “smartphone” that’s been dragging me into the new decade. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
In any event, I have become a smartphone-videographer :coolsmile: :lol: :lol: , and even emailed some of them. So now I’m hoping to get some video of the after hours pickers party at the Strater Hotel - packed lobby with everybody playing with each other, it’s the hoot’nest scene, I tell yu . . . the countdown is on. . . . . . .
But, to be clear me’n my smartphone, have nothing to do with what I’m sharing in the following “For the Love of Bluegrass”
those folks are for real and with lots of experience.

A documentary about the volunteers, musicians and enthusiasts who give life to the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown It is our goal to tell the story of how this little festival began and how, over the past 20 years, it has become a favorite of musicians and festival-goers alike. The Meltdown is not a big production company event, but a labor of love created by the Bluegrass community. You'll have a peek into the inner workings of this organically grown festival and meet some of the 100+ volunteers, musicians, enthusiasts and businesses who combine their energy, time, resources and creativity to fuel this …all “For the love of Bluegrass".

Sounds like a good time. I’d love to see Blue Highway. Discovered them on an E-Town podcast last summer. Saw Loggins & Messina live back in the day. Great to see Kenny Loggins has overcome his pop music days and is back to writing and recording the good stuff.

Sounds like a good time. I'd love to see Blue Highway. Discovered them on an E-Town podcast last summer. Saw Loggins & Messina live back in the day. Great to see Kenny Loggins has overcome his pop music days and is back to writing and recording the good stuff.
Good 'ol Loggins & Messina, they were almost the theme music for those fun young years in Wawona (YNP), loved their music. Yea, everyone is all atwitter about Blue Highway. Well, Darron, I think I got all the ducks in a row, it's actually fun, considering all donors are into it, so it's more like conducting a bunch of willing musicians that corralling the unwilling - now here I am crunch time when brag'n 'n think'n are put to the acid test. seee ya. :-)

For what it’s worth, it was a kick in the ass. the good kind :slight_smile:
I pulled it off.
Not all perfect… But, glad to report I had the food donors and that end down pat, with their awesome enthusiastic support that is :- )
but I did stumble with the volunteer end of it…
Nothing ugly, but way more uncoordinated than it needed to be.
But, it was on me. I dropped the ball and deserved the extra scrambling it caused me.
I did have a sheet of duties typed up and hurriedly pointed at - but it’s not enough.
I got complacent, past years core of Gr.m. crew had a bunch of old gals (yea my age, what of it : ) moms, grandmas, natural hosts and servers and cleaner uppers,
this was a newer crew, younger, non-foodies - they look at the room full of hungry guests differently.
Explain things and they sort of understand, but ya gotta explain it, hope they are listening and point once in a while.
Part of the learning curve. My lesson is that next year there will be a short but substantive orientation… what we are doing… expectations… various positions… communication - get that stuff understood ahead of time instead of on the fly…
{because once the event is actually happening - it’s like going through river rapids, no time for nothing but rowing and keeping to your line best you can, given what’s being tossed your way.}
Fortunately all that was back of house and minor, fixes were easy, stumbles were inconsequential - the food got out, on time, plentiful with smiles all around.

A weekend of living in a world the way I wish the world out there worked…
way over a hundred volunteers, donors, supported by an enthusiastic civic community,
working together to make a huge event be a wonderful memorable experience for all who touch it on whatever level.

Yea baby, that’s my kind of living.

Darron I need to admit, I’m only a casual bluegrass fan, so don’t know who’s who’s, but I did catch the tail-end of last event of the weekend
Blue Highway at the Henry Theater. Man they are fun, got a couple numbers on my iPhone vid, but lighting stinks.
{imagine, no one even screaming about NO PICS ! ©©©}
… oh yea… and rather than being sensible last night and getting to bed as promised, by midnight (since I stayed up too late on Friday), (alarm set at 5:45am) -
I rallied and went back downstairs to watch the real show of the weekend. 3hr sleep was a small price to pay.
I did a vid of a ‘quick’ walk through of the Strater Saturday night,
7, count 'em seven totally different bundles of musician whaling away, from one end of the hotel to the other…
no “bands” total mixing with each other.
Mostly ugly dark vid with some very “creative” angles and other effects :lol: ,
but the sound is decent, and at least I got some proof of about the greatest pickers/fiddlers party you can imagine these days.

Sounds like a good time. I'd love to see Blue Highway. Discovered them on an E-Town podcast last summer. Saw Loggins & Messina live back in the day. Great to see Kenny Loggins has overcome his pop music days and is back to writing and recording the good stuff.
You know D. volunteers get a pass to all three days . . . ;-)

I’ve volunteered at music festivals before and always had a great time. Keep in touch about that.

Hmm... I've volunteered at music festivals before and always had a great time. Keep in touch about that.
two shifts and you get the weekend. - but an outsider would need a connection to swing it :coolsmile: me I get a few more shifts than that, but I'm special ;-) besides, it's that after hours scene that's the absolute magic for me.

I think you need an experienced staff photographer to document the event and provide promotional photos for future events. :wink:

I think you need an experienced staff photographer to document the event and provide promotional photos for future events. ;-)
Well, come early 2015 you'll have to PM me if you are interested. I only deal with the green room, but I know who to go to.

We’ll keep in touch. That would give me an excuse to get up to the Rockies for springtime landscape photos.
Edit: I agree. The after-hours jams are always the best. I spent many a night at Kerrville sitting around a campfire listening to the musicians jam into the wee hours. Magic stuff.

We come and go, but the thump and twang continues.

I’ll hoist a glass to you & your memory Darron.

After two years it’s back and my roller coaster is about to begin, today is like waiting line and focusing and lots of loose end tying*. All for the simple joy of being here and living and partying with friends.

Ah, but this year, I’ve had a team of folks working with me, so it’s been a breeze since they’ve been doing most of the footwork, so far, now it’s time for my sweat equity.

For bluegrass lovers who have never heard of Jean Luc Ponty, this may be of interest.

and if you want to hear the modern jazz version of a Celtic dance

Hang on to this tour de force

Truth be told, music is the last thing on my mind tonight. I’m not a musician, I feed 'em. :slight_smile:

Tonight is all about thinking about the room and set-up, shopping list, and straightening out a volunteer scheduling faux pas, (and thinking about asking a few people to come in earlier than scheduled, I dropped the ball on touching back with the volunteer squad, to check their scheduling. But it’s small potatoes. The difficult food donation thing came together in the last week. Nice to have a team working it this year, or it wouldn’t have happened, way different atmosphere from back in my day ;-). On the bright side the new hotel, kitchen staff at the Strater Hotel is stoked for the event, which is such a key to the success of us sort of taking over a slice of their kitchen for three days - really an unheard of Cinderella sort of situation and weekend.

We, had the volunteer meeting tonight, the official kick off, now I’m on the platform - it was fun seeing all those people. Now one last night at home, then in the AM, I climb into this little roller coaster carriage for another ride. It’s a weird sort of thrill, this hosting banquets (and conventions) game, like some sort of campaign, non military, but lots of logistic, then the engagement, fast moving like a wave, with its various surprises, very in the moment, very intense, then it’s over. If’n you love thump and twang.

For the fun of it, I might try recording reflections on that ride, these next few days, but for now, good night.

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In a way my ultimate fascination is in watching the moments of my life unfold, I have tough time saying no, and have a habit of challenging myself, which mean dealing, insecurity and moments of being overwhelm, learning to brake it down to it’s bit size basics and such, dealing with mistakes and failures, as honestly as with victories, learning and carrying on. (The most horrifying is plumbing. Screw up something, and running away isn’t an option - and the psychological dance with oneself, between all one knows, ‘you’ve done this, you understand it, just do it. Buckling down, dealing with it, the moment, stop making things worse, go back to what I know, soberly assess the situation, arrive at a solution, question the heck out of it, but at one point one must act. And by and by, one thing is resolved and the next challenge crops up its head. Fortunately I’ve done no plumbing lately.

Now retired I think back on what made a difference, such as realizing that being there and caring about doing a good job goes a hell of long way, if you’re willing to pay attention and learn.

So now I’m half way through my cinderella weekend. This year for the first time I wasn’t involved in lining up the food donations, and things were looking pretty sketchy up to last week - (because of COVID, employee drought, etc, not because of me!), but fear goes a long way and the Board members are very proud of our Greenroom, so they engaged and by Thursday evening, we were looking okay, all the holes filled and ready to go.

But, with communication being what it can be in a fast paced world, we were left guesses just how much food would arrive. But we knew main bases were covered, volunteers lined up and food promised, and we’d deal with what rapid fire happens in the real world when the times come. Now at 2:30, I’m still absorbing the quantity of food that arrives, bowled me over, which created all sort of unexpected logistics challenges, and no time for farting around, the roller coast is in motion folks. People waiting to eat and all that.

From my own observational plane recalling all the decisions and the various people who jumped to, along with the space I was given in the kitchen - in previous years our relationship with the Hotel was frayed and I really needed to do a diplomatic dance. New owners, new crew, new attitude, everyone bending over backward to accommodate us.
Meaning, suddenly when I had food coming out the ears, rather than my one speed rack, I was suddenly taking over another, and chef is there, no problem, we’ll move this and this, have at it.

I was a life long worker, fast paced jobs were one had to pay attention or pay rough consequences, and it was fun, if you’re surrounded with good people and everyone is focused on accomplished the same feat. One hand washes the other and all that. And what can I say, old me freaky deeky absent minded but all that is the mind, - I’m a banquet wizard, my body, reflexes, muscle memory and job memory, so many little things to be done, takes too long to explain to others, they are taking care of the basic function of serving food and watching the door, not expected to think of all the nuances taking place during an event.

For me it’s fascinating to no end and I’ll tell you, with my initial recognition and now a couple years of appreciating for the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide soaking in, it’s all taken on even more texture. But, I really should be taking a quick nap, so enough.

Wild and wooly evening, turn out that perceived surplus was a good thing. We got hit with wave after wave, lots of quick calculation, short consultations and new plans set into motion, and gosh bless this kitchen crew, they are going through their own surprise volume, on top of employ shortages, and challenges, making room for me on the stove and oven. At the end of the day, the chef offered me three tylenols, he’s got a big bottle in his office and we shared some war stories. A new friendship. Nice. A good time was had, everyone eat to their hearts content, and the beer kegs held out and the boggy was still there.

Though it’s a different scene, the lobby wasn’t hopping with after hours music like before. Still happening, but not as spread out, and me, just want to go to bed sleep till 6 am. After spending an hour yapping over here. These are the days of our lives.