Thursday, August 04, 2005

We're going to Clifftop (String Band, Washington Carver)

Book Cover:
All that is Native and Fine

We're going to Clifftop this week for the Appalachian Stringband Festival. We call the event "Clifftop," which is the name of the geographic location. Some people from out of state call it "Stringband," which is part of the actual festival title. Our friends we camp with call it "Washington Carver," which is part of the campground's official name, "Camp Washington Carver."

It's an interesting festival. To my eye, there are more outsiders living the traditional Appalachian fantasy than there are traditional Appalachian musicians. Some native-born West Virginians have told me they enjoy going up to the campground and looking at all the "hippies". I had thought this invasion of Appalachian traditional ways was a modern phenomenon, (part of "The Great Folk Scare" of the 1950's and 60's) until I read All That Is Native and Fine: The Politics of Culture in an American Region by David E. Whisnant, 1986. (University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807841439.) It seems that meetings of Appalachian people and outsiders who think they admire, understand, and know how to fix Appalachian culture have been going on since the nineteenth century. Sometimes, the meetings are educational, profitable, or fun, but not always. I hope our trip to Clifftop will be a good one.

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