This was the 20th Harrietville Bluegrass and Traditional Country Music Convention, but no-one seemed to make too much fuss over its anniversary milestone. I found that encouraging, because it suggested to me, that the organisers were looking forward to what they can do in the future, rather than feeling complacent about their past achievements.
This year the convention was hosted within the confines of the public hall grounds, centrally located on the main street of Harrietville. I thought this was an improvement on times past. Indeed, it seemed that someone had given a lot of thought to how the various tents and marquees should be set out. South Australian luthier John Liddy was enthusiastic about the location of the instrument maker stands, which was more visible than in some previous years.
The series of tents located side by side meant that there was the occasional problem of isolation. Sound from one tent was at times intruding into another.
The festival this year presented three visiting American bands. I found the Petuxent Partners to be a bit disappointing, from my point of view, they seemed more like a â€œteam of starsâ€ rather than a â€œstar teamâ€. No doubt there will be many who disagree, but I felt that there was something missing.
The RFD Boys were fun and I enjoyed their sets. But, the Bing brothers and Charlie Walden were my favourites this year. They were very professional, relaxed, loaded with talent and played well with each and off other.
One of the great things about the Harrietville Convention is that there are actually several festivals running concurrently. There is a wide variety of activities to choose from between the hotels, caravan parks, and the common rooms within the many accommodation sites, the festival tents. There is something for everyone. Some people like to see all the concerts, some haunt the many workshops, others spend the whole weekend jamming and rarely attend any of the formal performances or presentations. The great thing is, it works, and I love it.
See you all again next year.
Sumbitted by Ed Lowe – Western Australia