Tuesday at Pickin’ in Parsons, West Virginia

Waking up and going to work on Tuesday was hard because, that afternoon, I would be driving to Parsons, WV to shoot my first outdoor festival since the Spring of 2020. We all know the reason why. Feeling a little like the last day of school, I knew that when the bell rang I would be off for the summer, or at least the next six days. The night before my wife helped pack my little VW wagon, named Bort by my kids. I prepared all my cameras and support equipment. Nobody at the office noticed I was wearing my sandals.

The Pickin’ in Parsons Bluegrass Festival is a solid four hour drive from my Fredericksburg, VA home. The Grascals and Doyle Lawson were set for the evening show slots, so I needed to get there in time to cover them both. The highways wound through beautiful mountains and offered stunning views.

The radio played Bluegrass Junction throughout the trip. Listening to artists I would be seeing in person stirred my creative energies. As I pulled up I could hear the unmistakeable voice of Dave Adkins finishing his last songs. I knew I needed to get myself together and start working.

I could see the crowd was much larger than a regular Tuesday. The campgrounds were packed full of campers, busses and tents. According to the staff the attendance this year is the largest they’ve seen since the festival began in 2004. I stashed my car near the entrance I grabbed my cameras gear and started working.

The next four days will be busy for sure.

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About the Author

Jeromie Stephens

Jeromie Stephens has been photographing bluegrass musicians for a little over 30 years. In keeping with the photo-reportage styles of Jim Marshall, Carl Fleischauer and Les Leverett, he shoots in black and white and tries to always stay in close to his subjects. He was first published by FRETS! Magazine in 1986, his junior year of high school. He's illustrated articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, The Washington Post, The Nashville Tennessean and Fretboard Journal. Additionally his photos have been used in CD packages for musicians like Tony Rice, Danny Gatton and Lou Pallo. Jeromie lives in Fredericksburg, VA with his wife, April and youngest son, JJ. You are likely to see JJ with his Dad taking photos at festivals.