Still more from the Guinness record at Galax

We finally caught up with Tara Linhardt, who spearheaded yesterday’s successful Guinness World Record attempt for the largest mandolin ensemble at the Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, VA.

She tells us that while they made it over the top, beating the previous record of 383 with 389 mandolinists yesterday afternoon, it was a close run thing.

“We did it. It was close and we were worried we would not get it for a while…

So many great musicians were involved who all helped so much to get us over the crucial number to break. People were combing the campsites rousting any sleeping musicians, people made calls to get a few more folks, and a few more mandos. We were just a few shy, but were out of mandos and had players, who also were guitar players or fiddle players, but did not have a mando with them.

Nora Jane Struthers thought to call Barr’s Fiddle Shop in Galax explaining our mando emergency. Steve Barr said he was on his way with 8 brand new mandos from the store he could loan out to the musicians in waiting. It was like hearing that superman or Mighty Mouse was on the way. He showed up and the crowd got really excited as the musicians lined up to receive their loaner mandos.

The Mando Marshalls were also extremely helpful. I made badges that looked like sherriff’s badges, but they said ‘Mando Marshall’ on them. Bryan Deer (guitar and mandolin player from Patuxent Partners) had custom-made them at his sign shop in Maryland for me. We had a small army of mandolin masters who went around patrolling and making sure everyone was in tune and had the tunes right. Then during the event we had them on the edges of the crowd and in the front to lead the tunes and keep us all together. Many are still walking around Galax wearing their Mando Marshall badges and I suppose can act as the ‘bluegrass police’ that we have so long all joked about if they so desire.

So yes, we broke the record, got our witness forms signs and now I will submit all the evidence to the folks at Guinness in London, and wait for approval to see if they include us in the next Guinness book.”

Media outlets in southwest Virginia also covered the event. You can find stories online from both The Roanoke Times and WDBJ7.

See our other coverage from the Galax mando mashup here and here.

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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.