The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61355 Message #987755
Posted By: Mark Clark
21-Jul-03 - 07:31 PM
Thread Name: Old time and Bluegrass-- Differences
Subject: RE: Old time and Bluegrass-- Differences
As always, Frank, your comments seem quite insightful to me. The OT faithful are, I think, a more welcoming lot. They will happily make room in a session for nearly any instrument or skill level. The only thing the OT faithful can't abide, in my experience, is bluegrass.
Bluegrassers are generally more intent on recreating the sound of one of the well-known bluegrass ensembles. Bluegrassers are delighted to listen to old-timey music when it's played well but they really don't want their own sessions to include an old-timey feel. Neither do they make room for people just learning to play. There are beginners sessions at bluegrass festivals but they tend to be more like song circles than actual bluegrass jams.
I agree that the fundamentalist religio-political thing got to be a bit much with the bluegrass crowd. In the 60s and 70s, bluegrass festival promoters seemed to understand that people were probably going to do a fair amount of imbibing in the campsites. Nowdays it's common to see signs prohibiting alcoholic beverages of any kind on penalty of eviction or worse. I don't really attend the big festivals anymore since the people I went to see are mostly dead now. I'll attend the odd local festival just to see friends and then work to overlook all the other stuff.
My own favorite festival or jam session crowd is the blues crowd. More diverse, no pretense or hangups for the most part, no exclusions… although like bluegrassers, they expect participants to be able to play.