IBMA journal – ying or yang

Chris JonesThis is midweek of the IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC. I’m enjoying the week, possibly because my really hard day doesn’t come until Thursday, when I’ll be participating in a morning seminar (“Yoga on a moving bus: healthy or dangerous?”), going to an awards luncheon (entree: chicken), co-hosting the awards broadcast, playing a late night showcase, then milking a small herd of goats at 5:00 a.m. for a sick friend who lives in the next county.

So far, though, I’ve been mostly in an observational role (i.e. I’ve been goofing off). This has given me the opportunity to talk to others about their IBMA WOB week so far.

What I’ve found is that people have very different perceptions of the same IBMA experiences, depending on their personalities. I was wanting to find a way to illustrate that, and I was fortunate to stumble upon two very different individuals who were willing to lend me their World of Bluegrass journals on condition of anonymity.

The first person could be described as a pessimist, and one with self esteem issues. The second person is someone with a very optimistic viewpoint and a self-confidence to spare, at least on the surface. Both are professional bluegrass musicians who play instruments with between 4 and 8 strings (that should narrow it down).

Here are journal entries from the first person:

September 29th:

3:00 p.m.: Arrived at Raleigh airport with no one there to meet me. Took expensive cab to hotel. Rooms were all booked at main hotels close to convention center (of course). Staying two miles away.
5:00: Took Red bus line, which is free, to the convention center (you get what you pay for — the bus was crowded and smelled like old socks). A group of people I recognized were gathered by the front door. Think they were talking about me. Registered. Name tag was bent and my first name was misspelled.
6:00: Gave copies of my new CD to some DJs. Doubt they’ll play it because it just went into a big bag of other CDs and I’m not with one of the labels that seem to have all the clout.

September 30th:

8:00 a.m.: Hotel continental breakfast only good if you’re a fan of Fruit Loops.
10:00 a.m.: Extraordinary amount of time wasted talking to people who don’t seem to really want to be talking to me. Many pretended to take phone calls. Interest in my music is low.
1:00 p.m.: Attended seminar on contracts and riders. Boring! Best contract in the world still won’t prevent someone from screwing you over if they want to. I know from experience.
9:00 p.m.: Practicing for Bluegrass Ramble showcase later. I don’t know why. People are just going to talk through our set anyway.

Contrast this Eeyore-ish take on the first couple of WOB days, with this upbeat set of journal entries:

September 29th:

5:00 p.m.: Arrived at RDU right on time. Was going to take a cab, but opted for city bus for $2.25. What a deal! Nice bus. Friendly driver. He seemed to know I was important.
6:00 p.m.: Checked into hotel. Good thing I got that IBMA rate. Nice digs! The first day is sometimes the best. In between visiting with old friends, I connected with some DJs. They seemed clearly interested when I described how our new CD is our best yet!
8:00 p.m.: Scheduled band practice on jamming floor. People are loving us!
2:00 a.m.: Decided to pace myself and get to bed early. Lots to do tomorrow.

September 30th:

9:00 a.m.: Thanks to earplugs, I slept like a baby. Hotel breakfast: Pricey but well worth it.
10:00 a.m.: Registered. Cool name tags this year. My name is misspelled, but I think I like the new spelling! I may officially change it. Saw a group of people I know, talking by the front door. I think they were talking about my new CD. Lots more visiting with friends. This is like a high school reunion, but where you like everybody.
1:00 p.m.: Attended seminar on contracts and riders. Great info! Just the kind of practical knowledge I’ll need when we start playing the big venues!
8:00 p.m.: Scheduled band practice, but we don’t really need it. We’re already primed and ready for tonight’s showcase. There’s already lots of buzz about it!

If you’re like me, your experience probably falls somewhere in between these two. And, if you’re like me, you’ve probably met (and possible tried to avoid) both of these people.

Raleigh on!