It’s been a busy couple of weeks for us musically. A week ago Tuesday we went with Jerome to play a Chamber of Commerce reception in Georgetown, just north of Lexington. It was a paid gig, for a fellow who had seen us play at Good Foods one afternoon. I think he was tickled that we came driving up in an 18 foot refrigerated truck, since we came over directly from making a produce delivery to Good Foods.
But the bigger event was Floydfest last weekend. Our friend Ron Short has been scheduling a series of performances to support the recent release of a 2 CD set of coal mining songs, Music of Coal, and he asked us to come help him out at Floydfest. We got hold of the CD to learn the songs that would be performed, including four that we were to do ourselves. That kept us rehearsing an hour or so every night for a month, which felt pretty good.
Floydfest is a big festival with multiple stages going simultaneously, some large and some small. The advantage for us small-stage types is that the infrastructure is oriented to much bigger acts, meaning we ate better and had better sound systems than you’ll find at a smaller event. The festival location is quite spectacular, right on the Blue Ridge Parkway just south of Roanoke. We ended up playing four times, twice for the coal mining songs and twice as part of a gospel music set that Ron was also presenting.
We had a good time, but I was reminded why I don’t envy the folks who make a living at music: tedium. There was a lot of sitting and waiting between sets, or waiting on rain to clear, or waiting for sound people to get things right; playing music actually occupies a small part of the day. And we were fortunate to be able to play four times in two days.
Sunday as we were driving to the festival grounds Ron asked if we (actually, Chris) could help him out with something else. The old-time music school he runs at the community college in Big Stone Gap started the next day, and he had just found out that it was overbooked with fiddlers, requiring another fiddle teacher. So Chris ended up going home with Ron and spent the week teaching fiddle. We managed to keep things running here at the farm, but were glad to have him home on Friday.
And that isn’t the end for us and Music of Coal. There will definitely be another performance at the Wise Fall Fling in Wise, Viriginia. And it is almost definite that there will be a performance in late September, hopefully at the Carter Family Fold, hopefully in tandem with a show by one of the better-known artists who has a song on the Music of Coal CD set; we’re pretty excited about that.