Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Great American Brass Band Festival: Americana at its Best

Today is one of my favorite Saturdays of the year: the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, KY. Every year on this weekend the town spiffs up, the stage is built on the Centre College quad, and ten thousand plus come to enjoy our Norman Rockwell town and hear the best brass bands in the world. For free.

This weekend the weather is gorgeous – seventies and dry. Last night, at the gallery hop (featuring the work of junior Gruntled #2), the streets were lined with folks just milling and talking, eating strawberries, drinking lemonade, and enjoying some pretty good local art.

As I write, the coffee house is full. Soon there will be a parade down Main Street, led, as always, by the Olympia Brass Band from New Orleans. All day long, bands will fill the stage, and crowds will fill the college lawn. Groups of friends rent picnic tables decorated to a theme. Sunday morning the Salvation Army band will provide the music for an ecumenical church service.

One of the nicest features of the Brass Band Festival is how kid-friendly it is. On the college lawn there is a low spot in the middle where the little kids play, surrounded by ramparts of adults watching them, and watching out for them. The bigger kids just roam the town with their friends, buying funnel cakes and curly fries and other high-tone food. Parents stake out a spot with blankets and chairs, making a base for the kids to return to.

This year, or some year, come on down to Danville.


KLG said...

That sounds like great fun - wish it were close enough to attend (from Central TX) - oldest son is first chair in wind ensemble playing euphonium, and I have learned to appreciate the brass section much more over the past 5 years!

Gruntled said...

Some summer you can make a travelling trip to points north and east.