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Raccoon Creek Bluegrass Festival

Posted by retiredguy on Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Raccoon Creek Music Park., Dallas Georgia
Bluegrass Festival 7, 12 July….Well, another festival under my belt and what a great one it was. The festival at Raccoon Creek Music Park didn’t start until Friday but I left out Tuesday morning, wanting to get a good seat. On the way I had to take Interstate 285 (Atlanta By-pass LOL). What a scary experience. I arrived late afternoon and found Mr. Wyle Rakestraw mowing grass. He lives on the site and pointed me up the hill to my site. Never did get my motor home level but I survived. No one showed up to pick until Thursday so it was real quiet for a couple of days. I was fortunate enough to park right across where a guy had set up his campsite with a huge tarp over the adjourning site (he had rented both sites) I knew when I saw that there would be some jamming going on. His name turned out to be Tim, a big redheaded guy, guitar picker and great singer.  I was also camping adjacent to a group of Bonded Brothers of Bluegrass, a group of hardcore bluegrass pickers and fans.
The Jamming got going in low gear on Thursday evening and quitting around midnight. Friday was revving up to high gear and I had to leave the jam around 1:30 am. Saturday we jammed all day and I got so tired that I had to quit around midnight.
The music on stage was outstanding with a great sound system ran by Stan (?). In the time before he had to go to work he jammed with us with a stand-up bass. I heard there was a possibility the Earl Scruggs may show up for the festival. One of the feature bands was Lizzy Long and her banjo picker is Little Roy Lewis and Earl has come down a couple of times to pick with them. Well, he didn’t make it and neither did Little Roy, he was obligate to play at a gospel event somewhere. So Ricky Rakestraw, a great banjo picker, picked with her, he normally plays guitar with the group. Rick cooked a ton of hams for the bar-B-Q and by early Saturday had sold out. The food was great. Wendell Hardy, Ricky’s brother-in-law seemed to be the “lead man” for getting the campsites set up and keeping the physical part of the festival, parking, assigning campsites, advertising,,,,etc,,,.
And the jamming,,, I had the honor of picking with some of the BEST pickers ever.. One Mandolin player, playing a Gilchrist Mandolin was the best I have ever seen and that was certainly the best sounding Mandolin I have ever heard. Then there was a fiddle play that was good as I ever picked with. The most ironic thing was that just as I was calling it a night and Banjo Player came and sat right next to me, he was going to play Clawhammer style so naturally I sat down and WOW what a picker. This man I was sitting next to turned out to be Mr. James Watson, truly a Legend in the Bluegrass community of North Georgia   I knew when he started that he well seasoned in what he was doing.  Had I known whom I was sitting next to, I would have forgone what sleep I would have lost by staying. Here I had a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to pick with the best and I chose to go to bed….
All in all, it was a well laid out, efficiently operated, and family friendly festival. The only thing that could have made it better is, Earl Scruggs showing up and me getting my photo with him. They are putting on another one in September..

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