Bluegrass Mad Libs, IBMA edition

Chris JonesI was always a fan of the Mad Libs game. It’s at least as good a time-killer on the road as eating sunflower seeds in the shell, or guessing how long various bluegrass side musicians will last in their respective bands.

If you’re not familiar with it, it takes a story or essay of some kind, leaving a number of key words blank, which you need to fill in without having any idea what the story or context is (a partner is necessary to write your words in the spaces provided). In the blank space is a guide as to what kind of word is needed, e.g. a noun, a verb, an adjective, etc. Sometimes it gives more specific suggestions, like “color,” or “nonsense word.”

As an example, if you were to do this with the song “Rocky Top,” you would start with this:

Wish that I was on __(adjective)__ Rocky Top, down in the __(place name)__ hills
Ain’t no __(adjective)__ smoke on Rocky Top, ain’t no __(noun)__  __(plural noun)__

After filling in the blanks, you might end up with something like this:

Wish that I was on pink Rocky Top, down in the Pakistan hills
Ain’t no itchy smoke on Rocky Top, ain’t no bicycle dogs

Boys under the age of 14, and many musicians under the age 70, will tend to fill these spaces with words that can best be described as “gross”: words, like “oozing,” “slimy,” “pus,” and “bellybutton lint.” This is by no means necessary for this game to be entertaining.

I had mentioned Mad Libs here a few weeks ago in the context of writing promotional material, and then a friend suggested an IBMA World of Bluegrass edition of Mad Libs. It’s too late for that, but I thought that a Mad Libs post-IBMA wrap-up might be worth a try.

Here, then, is my summary of the week-long IBMA World of Bluegrass, with Mad Libs-style blank spaces for you to fill in. And, I’d like to make this a contest for next week. Ask a friend, loved one, or bitter enemy to play along with you (to make it truly authentic), and ask them to provide the words for you without reading them the rest of the story. Those are the basic rules of the game. Naturally, I have no way to check if you’re cheating, without hiring someone to personally observe you, (and that gets so expensive), so this will be strictly on the honors system. Email the results  to me no later than next Monday at 5:00 pm eastern time. I’ll select one winner, and I’ll publish it in next week’s column.

World of Bluegrass – 2016

This past week, the IBMA held its __(adjective)__World of Bluegrass, held in __(name of place)__ . The IBMA stands for the International __(noun beginning with “B”)__ Music Association, and has been in existence since __(a date)__. The week of the World of Bluegrass is always ___(adjective)___, with lots of ___ (adjective)___  music, played by young up-and-___(verb ending in “ing”)__ artists, as well as ____ (adjective)___ veterans of the business.

On Thursday, it’s bluegrass’s ___ (adjective)___ night, the annual IBMA Awards ___ (noun) ___   . That’s when various         (plural noun)  are given out, like ___ (noun) ___  of the Year, Gospel Recorded ___ (noun) ___    of the Year, and the     ___(adjective)___  prize,  ___ (noun) ___   of the Year. Earlier in the day, it’s the ___ (adjective)___ Awards Luncheon, in which they give out awards for other ___(plural noun)___ in the business, like bluegrass ___(verb ending in “ing”)___ and           ___(verb ending in “ing”)___ .      ___(a food) ___ is usually served.

On the weekend, the ___ (noun) ___  festival begins, known as Wide Open  ___ (noun) ___ . It’s a ___ (adjective)___      weekend of music and good ___(plural noun)___.

Most of us who attend the IBMA World of Bluegrass end up sleeping only about ___ (a number)___ hours a night. We’re all afraid we’ll miss a(n) ____(adverb)____  ___(adjective)___ band, or a ___(adjective)___   jam session. That may be why some people think the IBMA stands for I’ve Been Mostly ___(adjective)___.

Please email your completed entry to me at: and look for next week’s winning entry. May the best           ___ (noun)  ___ win!