Mark Clark, I'm really enjoying all you have to say, so don't stop writing down those great memories! My husband and I go to 7 or 8 bluegrass festivals every summer, all over the northeast, and we're bit bad, real bad.
It's still like that, with all the headliners at the same festivals, all the busses lined up, really nice people accessible to the fans, and jams all night long. Check out the lineup at Grey Fox Festival (formerly Winterhawk) and Thomas Point Beach Festival, even smaller ones like Noppet Hill and Pemi Valley.
And the bluegrass lifestyle is another whole book, the people we've met at festivals and hook up with again every summer, people from every New England state, Canada, New York, Virginia, etc.
We met Carlton Haney a few years ago when we went to his festival at Berryville, VA. What a cantankerous old curmudgeon he was! Got up on the stage during one of the sound checks and called out specific settings to the sound engineer for several minutes. Bill Monroe was supposed to be there but was having health problems, but we saw Dan Crary, Rose Maddox (accompanied by a last minute pickup of Skip Gorman, who was camped right next to us), Chubby Wise, and many others. Never to be forgotton.
In our own little amateur way, we're carrying on the tradition locally with our own bluegrass band (called ShoreGrass) in a town that never heard bluegrass before, probably. We have guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin and bass. Of course.
Thanks for your stories, Mark. Keep 'em coming.