Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
There was plenty of good music around the area this weekend. So much that it was impossible to take it all in – though I certainly had plans to try!
The Carter County Shrine Club Bluegrass Festival was this past weekend, with shows Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and on Friday and Saturday afternoons.
Down in Sandy Hook, the Elliott County Old Time Fiddler’s Convention was going on Friday and Saturday nights.
And in Portsmouth, Ohio – at the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center – Olive Hill artist Sasha Collette played a set for their Cream of the Crop show on Friday night.
My plan had been for a full weekend of music. I’d maybe go to some of the Thursday night bluegrass show, maybe some of the afternoon shows on Friday or Saturday. That way I could get my coverage and enjoy some of the show.
On Friday night I was going to go see Sasha in Portsmouth, and catch up with some friends there.
On Saturday, I’d go check out some of the Old Time Fiddler’s show.
Then I had something come up that was bringing me to the Portsmouth area on Saturday. Not wanting to make that trip twice, I scratched Sasha from the list and reshuffled.
Maybe I’d go see the New Beckham County Ramblers on Friday at the Fiddler’s Convention. That would be fun.
But, then again, Blue Highway, Ralph Stanley II & the Clinch Mountain Boys, and Turning Ground were closing the evening at the bluegrass festival on Friday. That was some fierce competition for the Fiddler’s Convention. If I did that, I could still check out some of the contest and the closing band on Saturday in Sandy Hook.
Point is, there were plenty of options, but I didn’t want to set down a strict schedule.
I learned a long time ago, going to big festivals with multiple stages, that if you stressed on trying to see a little bit of everything, you wouldn’t enjoy anything. It’s better to stay flexible, and try to enjoy the moment you’re in.
That advice served me well this weekend as an issue with our heat pump kept me busy climbing under the crawlspace of the house and repeatedly snaking drain lines.
I had to get out for something though – and that something was the bluegrass festival. The main reason was the music, I can’t even lie. Bluegrass music just speaks to something deep within me. But I also wanted to take some photographs and put together something for the newspaper. I’ve been impressed since day one with the selfless work of the Shriners, and the things they do for the families of children battling illness. But it isn’t just the Shriners who deserve the recognition. It’s also the fans who come to hear the show. They contributed thousands of dollars over the weekend, on top of the tickets they purchased, through split the pot contests and direct donations.
All of that money will go to help children heal. To help them live longers, happier lives. To give their families more time with them.
And, if possible, that speaks to my heart even more than the music.
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