Massive Music Fest

I started out this far back from the stage. I had my rented 70-200mm IS lens, but even that wasn't enough reach to render the musicians discernible. Thus, I meandered my way through the crowds in socked feet (so that I might step on the many blankets spread over the grass - though by this time my socks were probably as dirty as shoes, I felt it was more respectful than imprinting my shoes on personal blankets... maybe it's an Asian thing). Making one's way to the front of a stage is made easier, I believe, by being a small female, and looking young doesn't hurt either. Walking amongst tall people, I didn't block any views, nor take up much space, so there was no protest. Lots of smiling and sweet "Excuse Me"s got me within 15 people thick of the stage. Also, this was a mellow, friendly crowd. It's bluegrass, after all. People even allowed me to momentarily crouch on their blanket space to take photos.

Tom Morello, of Rage Against the Machine, has a gentler side to his music. Still full of socio/political message of course.

The back of the stage was a backdrop of heavy mesh. It did a great job of preventing back lighting, but also sucked in the tree surroundings, as if a forest scene had been printed on the mesh. Most interesting effect.

The amazing thing about Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is that it's a FREE event, sponsored by a local investment banker that happens to love bluegrass music. The event costs millions to host - flying in musicians from around the country, to a five-stage, 2 and a half day event.

Dogs are welcome. Every 20 ft or so there is a dog. As we walked past the food stalls Charlotte vacuumed up kettle corn and other snack droppings. There are a lot of LL-Bean-esque folks in their sensible walking shoes, fleece vests and light, foldable chairs. There are plenty of artsy Stuck-In-Another-Decade-Haight-Ashbury types, with home-embellished skirts, bellbottoms, fairy wings or hats, bearing hand made percussion instruments. And everyone in between. We did notice an extreme paucity of people of Asian ethnic heritage. It seemed there were more of such people taking advantage of the abundance of discarded aluminum cans than as audience members. Making rounds, completely uninterested in music yet with a keen eye for any recyclables peeking from under a backpack, they made a killing with their many garbage bags full of crushed cans.

Lyle Lovett and his Large Band was a fun mix of funkier songs as well as folksy ones. His band played until past dark, and then, exhausted, we trudged a kilometer to our parked car.