McClurg Jam

McClurg Jam

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Winfield/Walnut Valley Festival approaching

It's that time of year that you should be giving some thought to whether you will attend Winfield. Most people call it Winfield but the name is Walnut Valley Festival.

Hard to believe it but there are still many people who have not attended even once and I feel for these deprived souls who have missed out so far in having that experience. Yes, it is an experience. Kind of Country psychedelic. This is where differing cultural expressions gather together once a year to join in the love of acoustic music of an American kind. It's not much of a Bluegrass festival but there is Bluegrass there. It's a bit of Old Time, Bluegrass, Folk, Americana ect.

With about five stages playing more or less all at once continually you get to pick what you like and not feel like your just wasting your time. On occasion you feel like you just witnessed something that should be considered historically significant and then you realize it's like this every year.

It's also a place for Jams. Lots of Jams. Most are closed to strangers as a practical matter. Some have actual barriers to block them out, others arrange the tents and chairs to communicate "The In Crowd Only".

That's not to say it's bad. Groups have formed and they want to play together and not have some guy walk in and start playing Jimi Hendrix.

There are jamming opportunities of course. You will have to work at it some but you can find open jams. I think it's like this at any festival you find.

Jamming of course is what Winfield is famous for and much of the experience for many people is jamming and not so much the entertainers.

To do it right you need to plan on camping. Don't plan on much sleep. It can often be very hot and you will feel it. The last few years have seen serious flooding and the displacement of the campers. Some years it's all glory.

You can arrive on friday afternoon and still find a place to pitch a tent. It will not be a primo site but it will work.

Plan on walking around the Pecan Grove after the concerts are over to get the full experience. Beware. The local Police patrol aggressively and assertively for drunkeness and joints. You must be discreet my friends.

I don't want you to think it is all licentiousness and Gypsy partying. It is not. Most are rather sedate campers who have low key jams under the canopy of the old Winnebego. You should know that there is a place for everyone there. They all unite in the love of good music. What a concept!

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