Picture driving through the Appalachians listening to banjo and fiddle music, and then arriving at a festival in North Carolina and being treated to numerous concerts and workshops where Doc Watson plays Black Mountain Rag, Earl Scruggs plays Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Jerry Douglas explains how to play the Dobro, Tim O'Brien plays material from Songs From The Mountain and The Crossing, and, in between, you hear the best country/folk musicians alive today, like Ricky Skaggs, Dan Tyminski (The voice of George Clooney singing "Man of Constant Sorrow" in "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?"), The Kruger Bothers, Dolly Parton (that's right), Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Vassar Clements, Marty Stuart, J.P. Cormier, Stacey Earle, Tony Rice, and others.
It was totally overwhelming. There were a dozen or so venues running simultaneously, so it was hard to see everything you wanted. But, wherever you were, it was intense. The tension created in playing this music goes right to the heart and uplifts. It was an emotional experience.
And, it was great to see Doc (who is now 78) still playing in fine form. He is revered there, and deservedly so.
There was also a plethora of instrument vendors and crafts tents. It took great willpower not to take out a mortgage and buy a new guitar, banjo, or mandolin.
This was a special experience and I highly recommend this festival to anyone who can get there. It's worth it!
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