Determined to have some pool time in Bardstown before Kentucky Music Week roared out of the gates Sunday evening, I got up stupid early and hit the road, ending up in Bardstown around 1:30 p.m.; excellent time made. After checking in, I went to El Camino Real (Mexican, natch) and then went back to the Quality Inn, leaping into the pool with great abandon. Rick joined me when he finally arrived.
Kentucky Music Week was my first dulcimer festival, the first immersion into this culture and it's got a soft spot in my heart for that reason, among many other reasons. It's part learning environment, part party central where the action literally does not stop once the ball gets rolling. As official videographer for KMW, I'm kept doubly hopping between shooting, jamming and teaching (wouldn't that be triply hopping? Is "triply" a real word? Am I parenthetically talking to myself?), so I was sort of glad that this would be the final stop on this insane month-long journey.
It's all a blur, really. Seeing a lot of old friends and meeting new ones, you know how it goes. A real pleasure to hang with Robert Force again and have deep conversations about life and religion. A joy to share the stage with Butch Ross again and lovely to sit down with Sam Stone, the bard of Henryville, Indiana, who was one of the first people to welcome me into the mountain dulcimer festival family.
After two years of attending the festival, once as a student, once as a teacher/videographer, I'd sort of gotten to know the routine really well. Sleep in a little bit, get breakfast (the Continental breakfast at the Quality Inn was sorely lacking in Continental allure) head down to the school where workshops were taking place, get some shots, teach my classes and then beat feet out of there to enjoy dinner before the evening activities. This year, J.O.B.-produced DVDs of KMW 2006 and 2007 were made available for the first time as I shot footage for the 2008 edition. And this is a bit of a commercial, but if you haven't seen what KMW is like, or if you haven't been, it's got great performances and a big eye towards candid moments that really make the festival so special. End of commercial. For now.
When all was said and done - it was me, Butch Ross, Stephen Seifert and Nancy Seifert at the Stephen Foster Restaurant, getting one last meal for the road and talking about what we were going to do with the rest of our summers. It's a beautiful life, this dulcimer world - and to think that I didn't even know that it existed for so many years. Guess this means that I've been catching up - and how.