Friday, June 02, 2006

Camping in Charleston for the Vandalia Gathering

Camping at Vandalia, view of the DMV

Last weekend, we took our pop-up camper to Charleston to the Vandalia Gathering, the premier West Virginia traditional music festival. Other festivals in West Virginia are bigger, but are often dominated by out-of-state musicians. If you place in a Vandalia music contest, (and many of our friends and neighbors did just that this year), you're one of the bright lights of West Virginia music for sure.

Our annual trip to the State Capitol Complex is a strange one. We live on beautiful Droop Mountain, and as we drive to Charleston on Friday, we meet the Charleston/Huntington traffic on its way to Pocahontas County to camp for the Memorial Day weekend. When we arrive, we put up our camper in this scenic location. In the top photo, you see the back of the Department of Motor Vehicles building. In the next photo you see how conveniently we are located to the railroad tracks and the interstate. It's a testimonial to the festival's fine music that we who live in "God's Country" camp on asphalt in the heat of the low country to participate.

Vandalia Camping: Railroad tracks and interstate

I had a particularly good time in the picking sessions this year. I got to play quite a bit with musicians I admire. Because I play concertina (not an integral part of Appalachian string band music), I don't jump in unless invited, and I was tickled pink to be included. I've been much more interested in learning more tunes and practicing since I've been home.

This year we also picked up a guitar and string bass from the repair shop. My bass has been out of commission for so long I've forgotten what little I knew about playing, so I've been trying to get back in the groove with that as well.

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