Camping at the Walnut Valley Festival is roughly divided between Pecan Grove, south of the fairgrounds; and Walnut Grove, west of the fairgrounds
Tuesday evening, I wandered the Walnut Grove, seeking camps I have visited in the past, where I knew folk were likely to be playing music. I first stopped at the Carp Camp, where a large group of people play Celtic music. Then I literally stumbled into Bill E—'s camp. Bill is a mutual friend of Sarah and I, though he does not know that we were once romantically involved. Neither Sarah or John were there, so it felt safe to join the small circle. Eventually, Dulcimer Dan loaned me a guitar, and I more fully joined the song circle — in which each person in the circle had the opportunity to play a song, clockwise around the circle.
We must have played for two hours. I think I got back to camp around 12:30 a.m.
Woke up at 7 a.m. Thursday morning. Went down the road for my $3 shower, saw Nancy again, chatted her up for a while. Went back to the fair grounds alone, to stage 3, to hear the Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop. It really isn't much of a workshop in the common use of the word; each picker plays a tune, talks about his influences, maybe talks a little about technique. Most of the seating is on the grass, but there are some bleachers set two to three yards from the stage. There was room on a bleacher, so I sat down. I'd gotten there late, so I was focused on the music rather than who was sitting around me.
Maybe 10-15 minutes passed, and I realized that Sarah and John were sitting about two feet away from me on the same bench. I held my peace. I felt if I said anything, it would just cause trouble.
The concert was about over, and John left. He was well ahead of Sarah, so I could say hello. She smiled, and responded in kind. We each allowed as how we were doing well. Then, she went on her way.
I don't remember the other performers I saw that day. It was a few. I do remember that I went to Stage 1 to see the "Men of Steel" (Beppe Gambetta, Dan Crary, Tony McManus and Don Ross) at 1:30. Dan and Tony were playing a fiddle tune, and I started falling asleep in the grand stands. That's when I knew I had to go back to camp to catch some shut eye.
I forgot to mention Jayne, who had been playing at Bill E's camp on Tuesday. She plays 6 and 12 string guitar, autoharp, and is learning fiddle. Nice singing voice, too. Well, after my nap, Mary T and I go to a camp a couple of yards away from ours, where the daughters are practicing for their contests. I'm sitting there, enjoying the music, when a very attractive dark-haired lady comes up, smiles at me, and says "Hey, I know you!" And I think "What the hell," get up and give her hug (yep, she hugged back). Took me a while, but I finally realized this was Jayne. Well, she looked different — Tuesday night she was wearing her hair up, and had glasses; Wednesday afternoon, her hair was down, and she had no glasses.
I guess the Clark Kent trick really does work.
Didn't see many of the evening concerts on Thursday evening. I wanted to play music, so I went back to Bill E's camp. He wasn't around, but Dulcimer Dan took me to a near-by camp where they were playing c&w tunes, along with a little Credence and rock. They were one of the few folks in the camp grounds using an amp. We were joined by a different Nancy, from Bartlesville, OK. This Nancy plays penny whistle and boudran. Not much in the c&w catalogue needs either of those instruments, so when my turn came up in the circle, I played "The Water is Wide." Bartlesville Nancy was quite grateful, as we shall see.
Stay tuned for Part III; but first, this friendly word from our sponsoring feline....