Bluegrass Bus Museum trek to Maine

The Bluegrass Bus, a rolling museum of bluegrass and country music memorabilia, took a long trip this week from Tennessee to Maine for the Thomas Point Beach bluegrass festival.

The vintage bus contains a wealth of autographed photos, going back to the 1950s, plus stage wear and other items of interest to music fans. It’s operated by Don Clark, who shared a few words about the trip as he was heading out on Wednesday.

“Ten tons of American pride took off today before the sun came up over Goodlettsville, TN.

For the first time ever The Bluegrass Bus Museum is heading to New England. For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Bluegrass Bus, I’ll give you a short introduction. The portable museum has been around for over twenty years, and has seen its fair share of festivals. I have made it my personal goal to spread the joy of America’s music through my 1955 Flixible tour bus. The vehicle is a hands-on interactive museum that allows children and adults to become immersed in the history of country and bluegrass music.

This trip’s lofty goal is to make it to Brunswick Maine for the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival, a whopping 1,279 miles away from my home base near Nashville. Pati Crooker, the promoter of the festival, has been trying to get the bus to come up to her event for almost the entire existence of the museum. After years of phone calls with Patti, I finally reconsidered. The promise of great bluegrass and beautiful beach weather finally got me.

I like to leave early to beat the traffic, so at 4:15 a.m. we hit the road. My son, Danny Clark, will also be traveling along with me on this tip. This will actually be his first time driving the bus. I think I will handle the driving duties when we get near Boston.

Today’s trip was uneventful, the perfect way to travel when you are in a vintage vehicle. We made it through Louisville, KY around sunrise and eventually to Columbus, OH by the early evening.

For those of you who are seasoned travelers, you may be wondering why it took us so long to move almost 500 miles. We make it a point to brake for every single rest stop. We get out and check the tires, inspect the air brakes, and make sure the radiator is staying cool.

We also get stopped frequently by what we call “lookey-loos,”  the friendly folks who stick their head into the bus and get lots of photos with their cell phone camera. Tomorrow’s grand adventure will hopefully take us to Albany, NY.

Thomas Point Beach here we come!”

From the photos Don sent, it looks like they made it just fine, and that the folks at Thomas Point are enjoying the bus.

 

Don’s son Danny works for the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, and says that he needs to hurry back to Kentucky after this trip for final preparations for their annual Monroe Style Mandolin Camp at the museum.

This year’s staff includes Mike Compton, Richie Brown, David Davis, Chris Henry and Skip Gorman. Full details online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • Dick Bowden

    The Canadians and New Englanders at Thomas Point Beach really enjoyed visiting this Time Machine. It was parked prominently for all to see. The Clarks were effusive in their invitations for one and all to visit, at no charge.

    The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band closed the festival Sunday night. Don Clark lives perhaps 200 yards from Lester Armistead’s place in Goodlettsville TN, and he and the band both marveled at the “homey” attitude they enjoyed with the Jug Band performing 50 yards away. Don said he felt like he could WALK home, not make a two day drive! Mike Armistead of the Jug Band said the same thing from the stage, how “homey” it felt to be pickin’ and singin’ with the ol’ bus right behind the audience.

    Don also treated the festival-goers to many renditions of fine highland music on his bagpipes! More “ancient tones”. He even played Monroe’s “Scotland” at one point!