If you will recall, last week I discussed the holding of a parallel World of Bluegrass purely for the purpose of arguing about various aspects of bluegrass music. Below, I have outlined a proposed schedule of events for the Argumentative World of Bluegrass (AWOB).
First, though, just a word in response to some criticism I received from a few openly argumentative people (some weren’t so much argumentative as just plain grouchy) about the concept of the AWOB. Wrote “John” from Harrisburg, PA: “I see what you’re doing here. You’re just trying to lure us all to a different event, so you and your cronies can hold the IBMA WOB without any friction, and you all can continue to run bluegrass music—if that’s what you want to call it—into the ground, so it can finally be stomped to death by the likes of Sam Bush, Allison Krauss, and Everett Lilly.”
Though I would love to have given him a vigorous and argumentative rebuttal, I chose the diplomatic route and simply said, “Alison’s name is spelled with only one ‘l’. Thanks for your comment. Everett Lilly??”
Before listing the schedule of events for the AWOB, just a word about the final selection of the site for the event:
Last week I said that the two finalist cities were Jackson, Kentucky and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Unfortunately the site selection committee was evenly split on the two cities, even after 48 straight hours of debate. Eventually the Jackson faction (say that ten times fast) staged a hunger strike, and the Tashkent supporters staged a walkout. In the end, the presenters from the Breathitt County Chamber of Commerce and the Tashkent Department of Tourism ate all the snacks themselves and then got into a pretty good game of Hearts.
We settled on the compromise location of Gallup, New Mexico, with most of the AWOB events taking place at the Super 8, with some activities spilling over to the nearby Blake’s Lotaburger, and the parking lot of the Toyota dealership. Everyone on the committee was equally dissatisfied with the choice but liked the hotel prices and free parking.
2012 AWOB Schedule of Events:
2:00-5:00 PM – Registration, greeting, minor disputes, and general complaining
5:30-7:00 PM- Dinner buffet that no one likes
7:30 PM – Midnight – Opening rant
7:00 – 9:00 AM – Continental, and virtually inedible breakfast
9:00 – 11:30 AM – Seminar: “These New Young Bands Are Destroying Our Music” – panel presentation with 90 minutes reserved for heated debate and prolonged hand-wringing
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM – Lunch break
1:00 – 4:00 PM – “You Grumpy Old Traditionalists Are Crippling Our Music” – panel presentation with two hours reserved for debate and supervised wrestling
4:00 – 6:00 PM – Emergency meeting of Rules Committee to respond to various complaints and threats regarding showcase band selection
6:00 – 7:30 PM – Dinner break
8:00 PM – 11:00 PM – Showcase of bands that in the end everyone agrees shouldn’t really have been permitted to be there. Peaceful picketing is encouraged.
11:00 PM – 4:00 AM – After hours disputes and name-calling
9:00 – 11:30 AM – Seminar: “Anyone selling more than 1000 units of an album is pandering to the mass market! – Wearing your commercial failure as a badge of honor.” Panel presentation, followed by questions and spitball-throwing
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM – Special Awards Luncheon with presentation of awards for the following:
“Most Negative and Divisive Bluegrass Print Media Person of the Year”
“Grouchiest Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year”
“Most Unwelcoming Bluegrass Event of the Year”
“Most Hours Logged on the Internet Engaged in Petty Arguments”
2:00 – 5:00 PM – Exhibition Hall Open (So far all exhibitors, except one selling water filters, have been rejected)
2:00 – 4:00 PM – Seminar: “If you really have a lot of time on your hands: starting fights about bluegrass using multiple social media sites”
4:00 – 5:30 PM – Formal debate: “Were Flatt & Scruggs really a bluegrass band?” (5:00 – 5:30 reserved for impromptu fist fights and general hard feelings)
7:00 – 11:00 PM – Parallel Bluegrass Awards Show: Though the awards committee could never come to an agreement on criteria for award eligibility or on what is meant by the word “entertainer,” it was decided to hold the event anyway and give out awards, reserving the right to disqualify all winners later.
Everyone is too bitter to go on. The event ends one day early.
So there’s the plan in a nutshell, though after much discussion there may be some changes. If you’re unhappy with the format, content, or other aspects of the AWOB, you are exactly the kind of participant we’re looking for. See you in Gallup!