I generally get stressed before the start of the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival. There’s always a moment when I’m sure my phone interviews with different bands are going to fall through, that I’ll never get the advance stories done.
But it works out. And then four days of music melts the stress away.
Today was our last day of coverage for the festival. We sell a special newspaper there with stories about the people, the activities and of course, the music, of the festival.
Ben Brewer, a musician from Chambersburg, plays his guitar in this Brett Berwager photo taken at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival.
In between jotting down notes and walking lots of laps around the Granite Hill Camping Resort in search of stories, I’ve heard some great music from bands like Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, Darin and Brooke Aldridge and Dry Branch Fire Squad.
I wish I could have seen some of the bands I talked to before the festival, like NewFound Road, Circa Blue, and Sierra Hull and Highway 111, but hey, I had work to do.
Once again, I met a lot of friendly people in my travels down every road of the campground. There was a woman perfectly named Patsy Kline, who went from being a jam class student to a jam class teacher. There was a band from Sweden, Yellow’n Bluegrass, who kept me laughing as they recounted through their five-week bluegrass pilgrimage in the states. And there a group of kids learning to sing louder and play better at the festival’s Academy for Kids – a good group of pickers, if you ask me.
And best of all – the best part every year – I get to reunite with the first people I met at my first festival in 2008. They sit in the same spot under a white tent with a full view of the stage – a group of strangers who became friends through their trips to Gettysburg every May and August. That’s how it is here, they told me when I interviewed them back in the day. You see the same people every year, you come to look forward to talking with them, and you miss them if they’re not here. They were part of my first story, and are still my first stop when I get to Granite Hill.
Though one of the friends has passed away and another couldn’t make it to this festival, I was happy I got to talk with the others again, to tell them what I was working on each day, to see what acts they were looking forward to, and to take pictures with them before I left today. So to Louise and Al, and everyone at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, thanks for another great year.