The Disposable Town

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Their minds arrived at the town long before their bodies did. The minds arrived days, weeks, months, and even up to almost one year ahead of their existential shells.

And when the time had come, the bodies made their way to cars, vans, camper vehicles, RVs, motorcycles, and hitch hiking. The motor vehicles creaked, squeaked, and crawled onto small streets that lead to larger streets, and from the large streets onto snarled, gargantuan highways that paved the way to the town that was in the cross-hairs of their thoughts. They all had left their comfort zones; the conveniences of their permanent homes, daily, weekly, monthly routines, and pedestrian way of life.

The inhabitants of the bodies varied. Some were poor, some rich, but most in between. Different politics, different religions, different points of view, different goals, different ages, different heights, different weights, and differences of many kinds ran wild.

Most knew where they were going. A few did not. Nevertheless they all went. And when they arrived at the nothingness, except for the hundreds of tall pine trees, something began to grow, slowly. Just a few arrived at first, much likes scout ants seeking new sources for survival, sustenance, and a hill. And then a few more came, and the numbers grew leisurely, but without hesitation and with overwhelming determination.

They searched for a place to live for a week, a few days, or just a day. From the early group of sojourners an evolution of leadership emerged. One thing led to another, and a town began to emerge. Rules, regulations, expectations, and understandings were formed; essentials for the peaceful existence of the newly formed tribe in the woods that would soon become army-like in numbers.

The town sprung up quickly. After three days the population estimate was three thousand strong. And as with every town there were differences. Some of these town-folk lived in castle-like structures with wheels, some in tents, some in make-shift structures, and some in just sleeping bags to make it through the night. Small cafes and businesses opened, and survived. Live bluegrass entertainment abounded, in the woods, on three stages, and in the most unlikely places imaginable. The town was created quickly, providing for the needs of its people. At first the differences among the inhabitants continued. But then a strange thing began to happen.

A pervasive, ubiquitous, magnet-like force started to pull the minds and bodies of the town inhabitants into a unifying alien entity. The people of the town forgot about all of their differences. Through the magic of bluegrass music the people came together in body, mind, and spirit.

They brought out their musical instruments. Guitars, banjos, fiddles, mandolins, dobros, and basses, could be heard and seen in the town. Strangers didn’t last long, and bluegrass music was created by the people of the town. And it was the music that cemented their relationships.

Some people played for an hour. Some played for hours on end. Some played for days. Some played during the day. Some played during the night. Some played in their sleep. Some played morning, noon, and night. Some slept voluntarily. Some only involuntarily, as sleep took over with a force of its own and held them captive.

It was a good town. People got along. They played music, sang, and some even created new songs and music. Some folks went so far as to buy an instrument in this town, and learned how to play it. And some who already knew how to play, learned how to play better. Many were inspired to play more. And some who had given up playing altogether were revived and started playing again.

The town council had secretly named the town. They called it Bluegrassville, but they knew that all of the town’s people would not agree that it was the best possible name; that the people would want to form a committee to find the absolute best name; which might take weeks, months, or never even reach a successful conclusion. Consequently the town “Fathers of Bluegrass” decided that they would disguise the name and call it, “The California Bluegrass Association’s Fathers Day Festival.” So they did, and the people of the town were happy.

But alas all good things eventually come to an end. The town, as good as it was, only lasted for about week, give or take. It went up fast, and it came down fast. It was as disposable as the wrapper on a fast food hamburger. Just as in the story of Cinderella, at midnight at the end of Fathers Day on Sunday, the town started to change, and gradually it disappeared. The tents were rolled up, the castles on wheels left; the other vehicles crawled out of the forest, along with the people. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the disposable town gets recreated every year, around the middle of June. You can visit the town this year during the middle of June, with the festival starting on June 14th and going through June 17th, in Grass Valley, California. Check the CBA website for details, more information, and options.

Thinking about visiting the town this year? Don’t wait too long, after June 17th it’s gone!

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