Friday, November 8, 2013

The 2013 Austin String Band Festival Redux

Too much happened at this year's Austin String Band Festival to truly do the weekend justice with a recap. What can you expect from three solid days of music, singing, dancing, jamming and general no-holds-barred fun? But we are going to try and share some of the highlights of the event with you, so that those who participated can reminisce and those who weren't able to make it out to Camp Ben can share in the memories that we made!

We started our weekend out the right way - a big square dance with some Cajun dancing sandwiched in the middle for good measure!

Even though some of us had been jamming into the wee hours, we were ready for workshops on Saturday morning. There were classes to fit everyone's tastes and interests, from country dancing and clawhammer ukelele to Son Jarocho and old-time rags.

(Thank you so much to all the musicians and dancers who were a part of my clogging workshop! Also, Tim W., you are an amazing person for making TWELVE step-a-tunes with your bare hands just for us!)

After the workshops, we were ready to hear some music! The afternoon and evening lineup took us from oldtime to country to bluegrass to conjunto and back again. We heard from local favorites like the Carper Family and Spencer and Rains, and special guests like Brad Leftwich and Linda Higginbotham. I think the only sound you could hear during their set (besides the tunes of course!) was the sound of everyone's jaws dropping in amazement. The delicious barbecue on that night's dinner menu kept us fueled as we headed back and forth from the main stage to the mini sets to catch our favorites!

(We got some awesome clogging and flatfooting going during the Sawmill Vagrants set! You guys rocked and rolled!)

Hopping Jenny braved the cold to wrap up the night with another square dance. Since they came all the way from Portland to be a part of our festival, we thought it was only fair to introduce them to a little bit of Texas tradition with the Cotton-Eyed Joe dance! After their set, it was off to bed another round of late night jamming.

In spite of how tired we were the next morning, we all came together to close out the festival with a big gospel sing-along. As sad as it is to leave a great festival, it was time to pack up our instruments and fold up our tents until next year. But whether we drove away from Camp Ben with new tunes in our repertoire, new friends or great memories, we all left the festival with our lives a little richer than they were when we arrived. Thank you so much to everyone who was part of the 2013 Austin Stringband Festival and helped to make the weekend such a success! We can't wait to see you next year!

by Erica Braverman

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