Blue Yodel #46 – My World of Bluegrass

Hello? Anybody out there who’s not in Nashville this week?

Janet and I just left for World of Bluegrass 2013. We ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the trip this year, but only raised enough to buy a moped. We’re currently in the Mojave Desert and have broken down at Ed’s Last Chance Burritos in Barstow. We hope to arrive in Raleigh this time next year.

For those of us who couldn’t make it this year, I decided to come up with a sort of home version of World of Bluegrass. It’s not exactly like being there, but it has some advantages: you won’t trip over people in the hallways at 4 am, and it’s free.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Noon-1:00 pm Orientation – walk around your house introducing yourself to your pets.
1:15-2:00 pm Keynote Address – watch Bill Cosby’s keynote at Carnegie Mellon on YouTube
2:30-4:00 pm Professional Development Sessions

– Creative Floral Arrangement – or You’re Going to Need a Second Job

– Social Media Marketing – organize your cassette collection

5:30-6:15 pm Networking Happy Hour – make a gin and tonic and mentor yourself on what to do when your credit score tanks.
6:15-7:10 pm Special Event – Bathroom break
7:15-9:45 pm Official Artist Showcase: If you’re an artist, find a small, empty room (walk-in closet works great), set up a stool and play banjo to a tray of finger sandwiches for 2.5 hours. If you’re a promoter, this is your free time – do anything except listen to music.
10:00 pm-1:30 am After Hours Showcases: catch up on Homeland season 1, which is what you’d be doing in Nashville anyway.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

8:00-9:30 am Morning Storytelling – call into work sick.
9:00-10:15 am Professional Development Sessions

– Think of three reasons you don’t have friends anymore. Let me help you: 1) Kickstarter, 2) Kickstarter, and 3)Kickstarter

– Leadership Opportunities in Bluegrass: find a hallway and talk really loud about how nobody’s returning your calls at the IBMA office anymore.

– Time Management: The Art of Tweeting – tweet how awesome it is to be at home, repeat throughout the day.

10:30-11:30 am The Honey Boo Boo Hour – Rename members of your family weird names on the off-chance you’re going to land a show on TLC.
Noon-5:00 pm Garage Door Open – you might want to close it
1:30-2:30 pm Jam with the Stars – make sock puppets of your favorite bluegrassartists and sing along with them. Put them aside for your awards show later.
3:15-4:15 pm Professional Development Sessions

– Reach Out to Your Community with Bluegrass Music – go to your local mall and do a banjo-solo flash mob.

– DJ Turntables – learn to scratch with all your old bluegrass LPs

– The Grassroots Power of Street Teams: go door-to-door in yourneighborhood asking people to invest in your film on Lloyd Loar.

4:30-5:30 pm IBMA Membership Constituency Meetings – go to your town’s City Council meeting and complain for 30 minutes on why you’re not getting any gigs.
5:30-6:15 pm Networking Happy Hour (repeat gin & tonic and mentor yourself on how to believe your own publicity)
6:15-7:10 pm Special Event – Backyard Grilling – set up sound system inbackyard and play bluegrass really loud until the neighbors complain.
7:15-9:45 pm Official Artist Showcases – if you’re a family band, get everyonein the car, drive for eight hours, and play one set at the first Olive Garden you see. Make the kids busk for dinner.
10:00 pm-1:30 am After Hours Showcases – watch Mumford & Sons on SNL andcomplain that the banjo player can only play a forward-backward roll.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

8:00 am-3:00 pm Golf Tournament – buy case of beer and play local putt-putt course
8:00 am-9:00 am Sleep in. (oh come on, you would have done this anyway)
10:30 am-12:30 pm Artist Showcase Brunch – go to a KFC, ask a group there ifyou can eat at their table, then lie to them for an hour about how much money you made in bluegrass last year.
1:00-3:00 pm Gig Fair – Cold-call promoters for an hour, and with a straight face, tell them your band needs $10,000 for a weekend and 12 rooms for your entourage.
1:30-3:00 pm Professional Development Sessions
– Promoting Your Bluegrass in Virtual Music Communities

– create an avatar that looks a lot like Del McCoury. Call your new persona, “Mel McSparks.”

– The Power of Positive Thinking To Help Accomplish Your Goals(I’m not making this one up.)

– Old Technology For Live Performances – using the one-mic-and-no-electricity set-up.

6:15-7:10 pm Special Event

Sing-along with an instrumental album of your choice

7:15-5:00 am Official Luthier Showcases – whittle a mandolin out of a piece of formica.


Thursday Night Awards Show – watch Emmy broadcast from last Sunday and realize that even with some of the most talented people in the world and the most highly paid writers, not even they can produce a show that’s funny. Get out sock puppets and have them accept awards for four hours in each of the categories.

Of course, the hard part about being home is not sleeping for four days and trying to re-create that feeling that you should have gone into another line of work.

All this is to say, I wish we were there!

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About the Author

Chris Stuart

Chris Stuart is a writer and songwriter living in San Diego. He was the 2008 recipient of the IBMA Print Media Person of the Year award, co-writer of the 2009 IBMA Song of the Year, and past winner of the Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting contest in bluegrass and gospel categories. You can follow him on Twitter @cvstuart, on Facebook, and at On Tuesdays you can find him having fish tacos at Roberto’s in Del Mar.