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 promotersBilly 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 presidentLonetta
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.