In only 5 years the Charm City Bluegrass festival has become an integral part of Baltimore’s music scene. Starting as a single day event, the festival has now expanded to two days each spring, bringing the best of modern and progressive bluegrass to a city whose own history in bluegrass in quite deep.
Now organizers have enlisted the help of Caplan & Green Productions to record a short documentary film chronicling that history, intertwined with the story of Charm City Bluegrass, and a number of Baltimore grassers who have made a mark on the recent history of the music. Patrick McAvinue, fiddler with Daily & Vincent, and Mike Munford, banjo picker with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, are highlighted.
Part of their goal is, of course, to promote the festival, but another is to record the pride which the city’s residents have in their local arts and culture.
Filmmaker Austin Green studied photography under CCB co-founder Jordan August before heading off to film school, and when the ice for a film popped up, August and his partner Phil Chorney reached out to Green to start a discussion about making a short teaser for the festival. Austin pitched back that they should do more of a documentary about how bluegrass artists in Baltimore are making a name in the wider world.
They agreed to do both, and Green started shooting, and talking to artists. He has now released a trailer for the documentary which also serves as a Charm City Bluegrass teaser.
Since filming began, Jordan has left the festival to focus on other activities, with Adam Kirr stepping into those shoes. Marc Shapiro, media coordinator for Charm City Bluegrass, served as director, also writing the film’s script and the interview questions. Arlen Caplan, Green’s partner with Caplan & Green, is the producer.
Current plans are to complete the film as a 25-30 minute project, set to debut on February 1 at WTMD’s First Thursday concerts as An Evening With Charm City Bluegrass. In addition to the screening, music will be provided by The Honey Dewdrops and Ken and Brad Kolodner Trio.
It will also be available next year on YouTube, and will be submitted for consideration at film festivals around the country.
Green says that while they don’t have an officially-chosen title for the film, Charm City Bluegrass Documentary is starting to look like it will stick.
Hats off to Austin, Arlen, and the festival organizers for capturing this bit of bluegrass on film.