Talking shop is a performer’s best medicine.
As one group finishes their set, the emcee steps up on stage and introduces the next group. There is a fifteen minute break between bands, enough time for people to stretch, take a walk, find the porta potties, get a burger, stroll the town, or pull a hat over their eyes and take a little snooze.
Some of the spectators today are wearing T shirts from past festivals, here and elsewhere, and spend their breaks visiting with their favorite musicians outside the tent before or after each performance.
Waiting in the wings, this mandolin player plays a few choruses to keep his fingers nimble and his mind alert, rehearsing a song his group will be performing soon. His band mates are joking with a vocalist from the band that just finished their set, one of the co-hosts for the Festival.
All the groups are good but we pick our favorites, either by the songs they play, the way they play them, the way they handle the spotlight, the way they make us feel comfortable, or happy, or sad, or a combination of all of these emotions.
Much of the player’s conversations,inside and outside the performers tent, are about fingerings, rhythms, chords and tempos.
When these performers aren’t talking music they are talking money, relationships and schedules, all of them tied together like a good Boatswain’s mate knot.
Luckily, we, in the audience, don’t have to know their business, their politics, their issues, or their motivations to have ourselves a good time.
Our joy is to enjoy the music and be pleased we can be here to hear some good ole guys and gals show off their musicianship and take us on a musical trip back to America’s quickly vanishing past.