Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bluegrass Festival Success

Marigold Meadows was literally humming with activity last weekend with our first annual Lloyd Loar’s Hometown Bluegrass Festival!  We couldn’t have asked for a better “first”.  We did have a brief downpour of rain, but it didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of crowd or the musicians.  At one point, we counted over 120 attendees just under the shelter.  There were additional jammers and listeners scattered around the meadow.

Festival Highlights:

  • Bluegrass Express from Elizabeth, IL showcased the event with Andy Hatfield who is the National Banjo, Mandolin and flat top guitar pickin’ champion!
  • Carol Jean (Smith) Trulson surprised me with a visit.  Carol Jean is the late Oliver Smith’s daughter.  For years, Oliver and his family hosted the internationally recognized Harmony Pines Bluegrass Festival in Gilson, Il.  Carol Jean & I were high school friends who sang together often and participated in state vocal contests together.
  • We were blessed with several local musicians who were the backbone of the festival, helping with odds and ends from start to finish, filling in when other band members weren’t able to come, etc.
  • Fred and Carol Barrett who are the hosts of the wonderful Bluegrass Festival at New Salem State Park came to support and encourage us.  They are so impressed with and excited about our festival that they offered to showcase us at the New Salem Festival!
  • Members of Bluegrass Express have assisted with other youth programs at various Bluegrass Festivals.  They have offered to help us organize youth workshops for our future festivals.
  • Phil Belcher was Johnnie-on-the-Spot offering to help as we were getting ready, being our festival photographer and offering a demonstration at the festival of his handmade mountain instruments!  What a craftsman he is!
  • Steve Hatfield’s band, Heartbreak Mountain from Peoria, IL joined us.  Andy is Steve’s son.  There’s no question where Andy’s talent comes from!
  • My sister-in-law, Marcia had an opportunity to bake in her new wood-burning oven that my brother, Art built last winter.  Known for miles for her pie baking skills, Marcia’s new oven will bake 16 pies at one time!  No one was disappointed in how the oven or Marcia performed!
  • Steve Smith from Barnyard Guitars in Macomb, IL set up a vending tent of instruments, picks, strings etc.
  • Tony Williamson owns a collection of Lloyd Loar mandolins.  While he was not able to join us this year, he sent us CDs at a discounted price to help us raise money to encourage youth in Bluegrass music.  On the CD, Tony is playing the various mandolins and explaining the history behind them!
  • Mark Wheeler, Steve Smith and Bill Kuhn were individual musicians who shared their talents with us.
  • Gary, my brother Art & I had the honor of joining in with various musicians.
  • We were astounded to have a young man show up in the meadow one day when we were preparing for the festival.  He introduced himself and said, “My wife and I think what you are doing is just wonderful and we want to do whatever we can to help.”  Pete and Stephanie Scrogum were a God-send to us from that point on and I’m sure they will be an ongoing part of our lives.  What a blessing!

Although he desired to be here, due to his traveling schedule, we missed the opportunity by about 24 hours to have the Lloyd Loar’s historian, Roger Siminoff join us.  Roger owns several of Lloyd Loar’s instrument prototypes, blueprints, compositions etc.  As everyone’s “go to” man regarding Lloyd Loar, Roger has been very encouraging and helpful from start to finish.  Hopefully, Roger will be able to join us next year with his historical presentation about the musical genius, Lloyd Loar.

There is no doubt in my mind that next year’s festival will be even better.  Musicians are already lining-up to join us on stage, as well as offering to hold workshops, etc.  Festival attendees are already spreading the word and we learned a thing or two that will hopefully make our future festivals even more enjoyable for everyone.  Mark your calendars for the last Friday, Saturday and Sunday in June.  You won’t wanna miss it and we’d love to have you!


P.S.  Please feel free to contact me with questions, thoughts, topics you’d like to ponder or to read past articles at:  You may also contact me at:
             Bonnie Jaeckle
             In Search of the Whole-Hearted Life
             Diagonal Progress
             505 Jefferson St.
             Diagonal, IA 50845

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