Yesterday I spent a few hours at the Milan Bluegrass Festival. This year, the festival was extended to five days. I was planning on attending a few of the days, but because I screwed up my vacation time when I went to work for the law firm for two days, I was only able to go on Saturday. Also, due to family issues, I was only able to stay for the afternoon first sets fo the bands.
One of the main reasons that I wanted to attend was to meet up with Dave Adkins. He is a great guy, extremely friendly to his fans, and was happy to see me. He and I have worked with some of the same songwriters in the bluegrass field, so we exchanged a few thoughts on the people that we know. I also wanted him to try out the Sevillana 2208 acoustic guitar that was shipped to me a few weeks ago. As far as I know, the one that I have is the first one in the US, so I take pretty good care of it and definitely want to get it test-driven by as many musicians as possible.
Not only Dave, but his mandolin player Ari Silver and banjo player Zackary Vickers (both excellent guitar players in their own rite) took the 2208 for a spin. I was glad to see that all of them truly enjoyed playing the guitar. They loved the loudness (we were picking behind the stage while another band was performing, and you could still hear the 2208 clearly), the weight (which seems a little heavier and more solid than most dreadnoughts), and the craftsmanship that went into the guitar, especially the inlay work. Zackary must have played around with the guitar for at least 15 minutes, he was having a great time with it. Even Dustin Terpenning, banjo player for the band Crandall Creek, asked if he could take it for a spin and loved it as well!
I didn’t get a chance to have the 2208 tried out by any other musicians due to time constraints and band members busy with talking to their fan base. However, I was glad to get Dave and his band members’ feedback, which I will be sending back to Cherry at Deviser Guitars.
Other bands on the stage that afternoon was aforementioned Crandall Creek (sort of a family band persona, although they are not family). Breaking Grass (a very high-energy modern bluegrass band, with a hint of Dave Matthews Band thrown in), Rhonda Vincent and The Rage (always entertaining and good, wholesome traditional bluegrass), and Alex Miller (an American Idol contestant that is starting to make waves in the country music circuit), although I didn’t catch his act and had to leave early.
Milan is your typical bluegrass festival for bluegrass lovers. There’s not a lot of frills, just two sets of music from each band, and the fans appreciate the friendliness of the performers after the shows. I have said it before, one does not get that type of artist/fan interaction from any other music format like one can get from talking with members of a bluegrass band. And so many of them appreciate that you have a respect for them as well. Like bringing in a new guitar to try out, band members love to have their opinions asked for, especially on guitars, banjos and mandolins.
Next week’s blog may be late as well, since I will be heading to Hillsdale on Saturday for the Michigan Old-Time Fiddlers Convention. There is nothing like live music.
Chew on it and comment.