For several years running now, I have seen the photos on the CBA website of folks having fun at the Bakersfield Jam (a/k/a The Great 48). Looked like a lot of fun, and I know, from having been to both Supergrass Festivals, that pickin’ in Bakersfield is a lot of fun. How I wished that I was in some of those pictures. I have resisted the urge to simply Photoshop myself into one of these pictures because – perhaps due to my unique body style – pasting my head on someone else’s body just won’t be credible….
Aside from the musical history of the town, which is considerable (it was Nashville West, after all), its specific location makes it more likely I will encounter some fellow bluegrass enthusiasts from further south than usual.
Imagine! A whole new group of people who can hear the 3 or 4 songs I sing well, and get the impression that I’m a master musician with nearly limitless talent… Hard to pass up a chance to spread that brand of malarkey, I’ll tell you what.
But this is the 4th year of this jam, and every one of those previous three years, something has conspired to prevent me from making the trek. Maybe it was money, or prior engagements, or both – I really can’t remember. It doesn’t matter now, though, because this year, I am loading up the truck and headin’ for Bakersfield!
Hardcore veterans of this event will scoff at me for being a lightweight – I’m actually driving down on Saturday, so I’ll likely only experience 24 of the 48 hours allotted to the jam. Actually, 48 is a misnomer, since the festivities start on Thursday night with a concert (featuring the Brombies!), and I would not be amazed to hear that many attendees of this concert go back to their rooms at the Doubletree and jam, even though the official 48 hours hasn’t begun!
I heard a delicious rumor today that the Doubletree in Bakersfield has extended the special Great 48 Rate beyond the previously announced deadline of December 27th. So, if you’ve been holding back because you missed the deadline, call the Doubletree at 1-800-222-8733 (Reference ‘Bluegrss Jam’) and see if they won’t help you. You can also click the link to the Great 48 right on the CBA website (upper right corner).
Let’s think of this as a way to get our Festival muscles in shape. Harden up those callouses, stretch your endurance for sleeplessness, and practice hiding your disappointment when the guy ahead of you in the jam circle calls the song YOU were going to call – and sings it worse than you! Best of all, you can perform this valuable training exercise without having to practice sleeping on the ground, riding a Port-A-Potty or climbing rickety aluminum steps in the dark. You can, however, opt to turn out the lights in your room and form a jam circle around a single battery-powered lantern.
And when you’ve had enough, you can retire to your nice room, where the bedsheets are tucked in so tight your ankles will have to turn completely sideways, and the drinking glasses are always Sanitized For Your Protection. Ah… this is the life!