A smaller festival for me this year as I had a gig Friday night, and well gigs pay!
I had planned to do the gig, drive home and then set off for Harrietville and arrive in the morning, but that's not how it turned out. I arrived home and then decided that I should go to bed. It was just the safer option.
I arrived around 5:00 pm Saturday. I missed the morning workshops, oh well.
I stayed at the Big 4 at Porepunkuh. I left it too late to book and I wasn't prepared to pay the exorbitant rates of what I could book. Had dinner in Bright and then went to the Pub in Harrietville. I noticed a P.A. set up on the stage and a chalkboard pushing a "Plug and Play" session. I asked the people behind the bar for more information and they directed to a man named "Tex". I said I was interested in doing a spot and was that possible. Tex was most obliging and put me on as the warm-up act before any of the other acts. Good I thought, people will be too busy eating their meals to notice me. How wrong can you be.
I had my iPod with my backing tracks from the gig I had the previous night, so I set up and performed for about 30 minutes. Invisible? No way! Heaps of applause after each song, even the instrumentals I started off with. Once I started singing the audience sang along as the Strzelecki Stringbusters were there and sang along with the songs causing the patrons to lose their inhibitions and sing as well. My tiny, invisible set was huge! felt good about that.
Wandered down to the convention site and had a listen to X-Train, a U.S.A. group. Very, very good! Clean, tight, with wonderful playing.
I spotted Mike Kear and asked him if there were any spots at his Sunday Gospel Concert. I was most disappointed to find that he was booked out. This really was the reason I made the trip. I guess those things happen when you arrive 'late'.
Leonard Cohen told me there was a session at the Motel at midnight, so I went down and got my guitar out, but it all seemed a little strange. It was more a performance, so after a few songs, I quietly packed and headed for 'home'.
Slept well. These cabins are fantastic.
Arrived about half an hour before the Gospel show and asked Mike if there had been any cancellations. "No" was the sad response. Mike then asked me how many songs I wanted to play to which I said "three." "I'll see what I can do" Mike said. Mike had a timetable of artists set to a fifteen minute set. As it turned out, these sets were performed quicker than fifteen minutes creating a 'slot' for me. I went on and performed three songs and did all right. Another good moment.
Sat in on the last half of the Bass fiddle workshop. Bob Denoncourt from X-Train was advertised as the person running the workshop, but Maria Duff from Bluegrass Parkway was doing all the talking. John Werner got roped in to offer a few practical tips. You just have to admire the smooth style that Bruce Packard plays.
Caught up with Laurie Grundy at his Instrument Makers display and sat in for an informal session. That was good fun.
Stopped in at the pub and was asked by some people if I was playing at the local open-mic tonight. I said I hadn't planned to, but if they wanted to hear more I'd find out. I found the man running the open-mic and asked if I could be part of the show. he said sure. I asked him if I could borrow a guitar to which he offered his guitar. Great! "What time would that be?" I ask, he looks at his watch and says 8:30. It was 7:50 so no problems.
Things became a bit strange as 8:30 came and went and he avoided eye contact. Finally at 10:00 I approached him and asked him about the 8:30 time. He responded with some menace "Well it aint!" Fine, you don't have to tell me twice.
What a strange man.
Went back to the convention site and listened to X-Train again. That was good.
Back to home and had a good sleep.
For time I was there I really enjoyed myself.
The weather was all over the place. Saturday was all rain. Sunday was blue skies and sunshine. The guys from X-Train told us that in the U.S.A. even if there's a forecast of dampness the people will not go. He was amazed to see so many people in the pouring rain.