Today’s journey was pretty short – about an hour – but we passed from one “world” into another. The 46th Annual Mt. Airy Old Time and Bluegrass Fiddler’s Convention was our destination. As we entered Veteran’s Memorial Park in Mt. Airy we were told that we can set up our camper “anywhere,” except in the marked firelane. Unlike other festivals that we’ve camped at, this one had no discernible order or plan for campers to follow in selecting a spot. We pulled up in a fairly open section of a grassy lawn, next to a man playing his uke and a young woman setting up a tenting complex. The young woman was Krista, and she was here to compete in the folksinging category as well as the old time banjo category.
The festival began, for us, with an open-invitation jam for “all musicians” in the main building. We played a number of old time fiddle tunes together. I played the mandolin, but not very well. On many of the tunes, I was lost and unable to figure out the structure of the tune. In the evening we enjoyed the performances of all the bluegrass and old time bands as they each performed the first of two of their songs or tunes for the competition. There was a ton of jamming going on throughout the entire camping area.