Submitted by Ed Lowe, Western Australia.
An atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and doubt awaited as I arrived at Harrietville for my 5th Bluegrass Convention. Was this really to be the last Harrietville?
Surprisingly, the official confirmation of the long held rumour didn’t seem to settle things very much. Like many others, I have come to love the hamlet of Harrietville and have made friends with some of the business owners and their staff. So it’s no surprise that there’s a feeling of sadness that things will change.
Will I attend the new Beechworth Convention? I don’t know. I need to know a bit more about the new venue and accommodation options. Before making a decision, I shall review all the festival/convention options that emerge over the coming months, and there appears to be quite a few emerging.
…it’s not stalking if you love them
I’m an unrepentant-jammer, that’s why I go to festivals. I had the opportunity to speak with two of the visiting American musicians over lunch one day and we all agreed that after sitting listening to a concert for a set or two, we just wanted to go somewhere and do some picking. That said, I saw sets from both visiting American bands, Blue and Lonesome and The Corndrinkers, and I enjoyed them both. But soon after, I went out with several others and found a jam session to join.
I’m a Strzelecki Stringbusters fan and I enjoyed their concert spot. My fellow pickers and I also had a great jam session at their campsite on banks of gorgeous the Ovens River. What a wonderfully inspiring place to play music with some nice guys. As head Stringbuster Ray Negro says; “It’s not stalking if you love them.”
I like to sneak up on a jam
On Saturday evening my mates and I stopped off at the coffee shop to enjoy some coffee and play some music. It’s a great feeling to be in a jam session when a bass player suddenly joins in. You can feel everything come together and start to really drive along. I mentioned this to Mark, a bass player, who joined us in a few songs that night. “I do it on purpose” he said. “I like to sneak up on a jam”.
… satan lost a good right arm
In a lapse of good judgment on the part of organisers, some friends and I were invited to play in the Sunday morning Gospel Concert. Something about needing to make up numbers I think. Anyhow, after the last minute addition of Mark the bass player (yeah, same one), we made our debut appearance on a Harreitville stage. What’s more we may have been we were the only West Aussies to get on stage this year.
Our guitar player, Stephen Loss, was approached afterward by a guy who wanted the words to one of the songs we sang, namely The Baptism of Jessie Taylor. Now Stephen would be happy to oblige the gentleman had he lost his contact details, which he hastily scribbled on the back of the set list. So sir, if you’re reading this, email the Blogmiester (he was the one playing banjo with us) and he will put you in touch with Stephen. Also, to the lady who complained because the merchandise tent didn’t have any of our CDs, thanks for making our day.
“I’m playing all the tracks on my iPod in alphabetical order”
All good things come to an end they say, and the 22nd Harrietville was no exception. As we piled into Stephen’s car mid Monday morning, for the trip to the airport, he announced that he was going to play all of the tracks on his iPod in alphabetical order on the trip to Melbourne. Several hours later, as we turned of the freeway to Melbourne airport, we were listening to Mike Compton and David Long playing Ashland Breakdown. That’s one full iPod.
Until next year, whatever that may bring.