Building to a Crescendo
Festival aims to strum up support for bluegrass music; Gibsons featured
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 18:09
There’s the cry of a fiddle and the plucking of a banjo, all added to the walking bass line; now add the twanged voice singing about the river, farmland and the outdoors, and that’s the fundamentals of Bluegrass music.
“It sounds the same under a tree as it will on a stage with a good sound system,” Eric Gibson, guitarist of the Bluegrass band The Gibson Brothers said.
In the early 1600s, America served as a melting pot for the music brought over from Ireland, Scotland, England and even some African American gospel music. According to the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), African AmericanS brought over the banjo, which is a fundamental in the genre of music bluegrass.
In Danby, Vt. a bluegrass festival used to be held annually; however, the past couple years it hasn’t occurred. Since then, people have gone to Glenn Gillespie, the manager of the Clinton County Fairgrounds, asking him to pick up this lost music festival.
“The phone’s been ringing off the hook… it’s a good kind of crazy,” Gillespie said.
He said in addition to people asking him to host this event, he also wanted to put the fairgrounds to another use than just the annual fair. He thought hosting a weekend music festival, including an opportunity for camping, was a good use for it.
The Grand Stand will also be used, which he said will be convenient if the weather is bad at certain times over the course of the weekend.
So far, approximately 100 campsites have been reserved, but he said there’s still room for about another 200. In addition to the several bands performing, including The Gibson Brothers, Remington Ryde and Danny Paisley and Southern Grass, there will be open mic nights at the B and B Saloon. Gillespie said with these additional activities, there will always be music playing throughout the weekend.
“There seems to be a lot of excitement about it (festival),” Gibson said. “I’m excited there’s going to be a bluegrass festival in our backyard.”
The Gibson Brothers perform Saturday night, and one-day passes are sold for a lower price than camping for the weekend, which allows festival-goers another opportunity aside from camping. Thursday is $10, Friday is $20 and Saturday is $25. Special prices for students are available.
“If I’m going to have a bluegrass festival, I have to have the Gibson Brothers,” Gillespie said. “They’re in our backyard.”
The Gibson Brothers have been around for awhile, Gibson said, growing from a three-piece to its current five.
“Things have really been clicking for us these past couple of years,” he said. “When I picked up the guitar for the first time, it was just for fun… (but) each year it got more serious.”
He said as things escalated, they decided they wanted to try to make a living out of it.
“We’re gonna ride it as long as we can.”
Not only will the Gibson Brothers be performing Saturday night, but they will also be holding a workshop for those who attend and bring their instruments. It will be aimed mostly toward the local high school and college students.
“(The) festival provides a link between the high school and college campus,” Latin American Studies Professor Stuart Voss said.
Growing up in Peru and being exposed to bluegrass since he was a child, Plattsburgh State student Steven Stansbury said he has noticed an increase in popularity of this genre. He used Mumford & Sons as an example band. He said they play a different style of music than the norm, and all of a sudden, they were featured on radio stations that most wouldn’t expect them to be played on, like rock stations.
“When it comes to music, I’m open to anything,” Stansbury said.
Stansbury plans to attend the festival Saturday to attend The Gibson Brother’s workshop and set. He said he has considered pursuing the new bluegrass program that will be available on campus, and he thinks this festival may even inspire him more.
This genre of music is nothing but the truth, Gibson said, and wants more people to listen and recognize this.
“If you hear it live, it’ll bring you back,” he said. “There’s no lies… what you put into the music comes out. There’s no hiding… it hooks people.”