The Marietta Bluegrass Festival - Fall 1999 proved to be as enjoyable as always and even contained a surprise or two! Great music, good company, and the wonderful hospitality of the Johnsons provided for another memorable event. And the crowd! Largest I have seen in many years. This festival is growing at a strong rate under the care and guidance of Billy and Faye Johnson. They are definitely to be commended.
I arrived in Marietta late Friday afternoon after a six hour drive from Columbia, KY. After a short nap, I was on my way to the Cobb County fairgrounds and it was already bustling when I arrived about 7 p.m. After exchanging greeting with several friends, I set about checking out a digital camera that I brought along for photos. Tony Francis of WRFG served as Master of Ceremonies - along with Mr. Mack Farley - for the festival and asked me to say a few words to the audience about the web site. I repeated this a couple of times during the weekend and was pleasantly surprised at the number of requests for cards. A great way to keep abreast of the happenings of our great music.
I was treated to some great stage music on Friday evening. Heartstrings is always a favorite...the Suggins Brothers did a great job. And I know I am going to leave out a lot of names, but the stage show of Friday evening was as enjoyable as I have heard anywhere. The audience and the performers seemed to be in sync and 'a good time was had by all!'
Saturday proved to be an exciting *AND* surprising day. Mr. Mack had asked if I would be willing to join Passtime Bluegrass Band on stage for the evening show with the banjo to back up a favorite of mine that Mr. Mack fiddles...Raggedy Ann (also known as Ragtime Annie). Of course, the answer was 'Yes.' It's been a while since I have performed on stage with the banjo, but a request and invite from Mr. Mack and Ms. Evelyn is not to be taken lightly! I found to my great surprise that this was a means to provide me with the greatest honor that I have received from Bluegrass music. A plaque of appreciation for my work in producing web sites for several of the North GA bluegrass festivals. In addition to promoters Billy and Faye Johnson of Marietta, Mack and Evelyn Farley of Armuchee and L.W. and Annette Rakestraw of Raccoon Creek, the SouthEastern Bluegrass Association with president Lonetta Essary also took part in the presentation. A great honor. It is always special to be honored by peers, but even moreso when those peers are close friends for whom one has the utmost respect.
I knew the weekend was going to be special when I was invited to play clawhammer banjo on stage with Mr. Mack and Passtime. That in itself was the 'cake'....the presentation provided for some very thick 'icing!'
As I drove back to KY on Sunday, the winding roads seemed to parody the refrain of an old song...'Life is like a winding road - always brings you back where you belong...' further re-emphasizing to me the wonderful friendships nurtured by and through the bluegrass community of North Georgia. I am proud to be a part of that extended family.
I hope you enjoy viewing some of the photos from the great weekend of bluegrass at Marietta! If so, please check out the guestbook and leave a nice note of thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson.
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Copyright © 2004 Bill Brown. All rights reserved.