Well, this last weekend was another stupendous Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in beautiful Oak Hill, New York – one of the best-run festivals in the country, in my opinion. There are plenty of ideas that festivals around the country can learn from this well-oiled machine. It is managed by literally hundreds of volunteers and staff from all over the country. All four days I was there, I only saw them with friendly and helpful attitudes and smiles whether they were checking an armband, golf carting around the artists, taking photos, serving food, or any of the other myriad tasks that all come together like a crisply-conducted symphony.
The staff being so pleasant really laid a great foundation for the weekend. Crowds come in from all over the country to have a great time, see their favorite artists and check out new music, but perhaps one of the biggest draws for many is meeting up with their Grey Fox families of friends that they look forward to seeing every year, and adding to that circle of people who become like family.
The folks at Grey Fox have also thought of positive ways to try to encourage clean camping areas to keep things nice for everyone. They offer an award to the “Greenest Campsite,” which folks can read about on the first page of their program when they arrive. There are people in the undercover “Green Team” of the festival who roam throughout the campsites all weekend and whichever campsite has the best use of space and eco-friendly creativity will win 2 full festival camping tickets for the following year (a $400 value)! They also provide a fun loving Campers Creed in the program letting folks know of such things, and that the festival is on a working farm that will have cows eating on it and hay growing on it throughout the rest of the year.
The Grey Fox organizers also got creative with how to deal with that problem we have all seen at festivals with campsites that are taking up too much room with all the cars that just sit there taking up space. They have a “Car Corral” where folks are encouraged to put their cars for the weekend, and by parking there for the weekend they are automatically entered into a contest with fantastic prizes. If one gets their car in by 6:00 p.m. Friday they could win $1000 cash for first place, 2nd place is 2 full festival tickets to the next year’s festival, 3rd place is 1 full festival ticket to next year, etc.
Then of course there is the wonderful selection of music at the various stages throughout the park. One can find the biggest names and legends of bluegrass performing shows and offering workshops, hot new acts, and even some wonderful musical surprises of traditional musics of the world, as well as small fun interactive things for families and kids to see and do all weekend.
Here is just a little taste of some of the variety of musical merriment that was Grey Fox on Thursday with some photos and video.