Exciting News!
We have a new Editor for the magazine. Chris Lord has kindly volunteered to take over the job, and we are all delighted to have him on board.

Chris is the Banjo player in the Vanguards. You can see from the description of the band, that the magazine will be in good hands with its new editor!

Out and about
Sore Fingers Summer School‘s main event was held at Easter. Sore Fingers  remains the premier teaching event for the bluegrass community. We understand that it was a great event and that the standard of our younger players remains as high as ever.

A few days later, and the Crossover Festival was the next event. This is a gem of a festival  in a lovely setting – well worth a visit if you have not been! Again the British presence was outstanding with Midnight Skyracer giving the old favourites  Ron Block and Tony Furtado  a run for their money! Crossover also provided us with some quirkiness with a highly entertaining duo called The Peas a unique chance to see Breaking Grass from the USA – their only UK gig. A really nice mix of Old Time and Bluegrass and beyond and now fast becoming a festival not to miss.

Now to Orwell – sadly the last festival for Chris, Trish and Ben Hockley. The team has provided us with years of top Bluegrass – it will be sadly missed and fondly remembered! A huge vote of thanks from our Bluegrass family to the organising team – and best wishes for a speedy recovery to Trish.
The BBMA was approached to see if we could take it on but the committee felt that for various reasons it would not be feasible.  However, the BBMA would be happy to help and support anyone interested in taking on this project but time is short so if you are interested, get in touch soon.

Committee Stuff
Your committee has also been busy, and as has been previously reported, both funds and membership are all headed in the right direction. We have around 25% of our members joined through direct debit – this works really well for us in terms of membership renewal – something to be considered when you are joining or renewing membership. The webmaster Geoff has been doing overtime transferring hosting to our new domain, britishbluegrass.org and in addition to that you will have noticed a new front page to the site which now features blog posts from me and others! I would encourage you to get in touch (by using the contact button above or) by email to secretary@britishbluegrass.org – especially if you have stuff that needs to be considered by the committee. Your Chair has also been beavering away with tour support – helping to bring in exciting musicians from the USA and Canada (have a look at our Tours page – the link also appears in the menu bar above). The results of this work generates a healthy income for the association – and we are in the process of a brain storming exercise to see how we can use these funds to benefit our community. Recently a number of students have been funded for a workshop course run at Moniaive in Scotland. I hope that we will eventually have a page on the website to describe in detail our current schemes to assist members, but until we have that sorted, I will remind you again on whats on offer!

  • Sponsorship for students attending Bluegrass Courses – this one is currently under review, and we hope to have the new conditions posted on our web site soon.
  • We loan money to Bands who want to record an album.
  • We will provide start up grants for new venues.
  • We will subsidise Bands to play at Festivals who don’t normally have any Bluegrass.
  • Funding for anything Bluegrass … you can apply with the details and your committee will give it their full attention. Remember, if you don’t ask you don’t get!
  • Our current Festival Discount scheme for members will run as usual for the next years festivals.

The Jan Jerrold Award
This year the award was given to Rick Townend – as Rick was unable to be at the festival, it was collected on his behalf by Jill Sands.

Rick Started playing Bluegrass in the Echo Mountain Band – initially a group of pupils at the Sevenoaks School. In 1964 the band went on to win both Vocal and Instrumental group at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Echo Mountain went on to play for a number of years cul
minating with a final performance in 1980 (along with the odd reunion gig). The Band was closely involved with Bill Clifton (USA) who was living at that time in the UK. – they would sometimes accompany him on his personal performances. Rick’s brother Andy was a top class Mandolinist and a big influence in the British scene. Andy was sadly to die in July 1998 – a major loss to our Bluegrass community.
Rick organised the Wadhurst Bluegrass Days – an event that was to run annually for a number of years. Rick is most generous with his time and knowledge and continues to organise educational events/ festivals/ promotions – and to this day he still publishes one of the most comprehensive listings for his geographical area. A true servant of our Bluegrass community, and a deserving recipient of the Jan Jerrold Award.

This year the BBMA AGM was held at the Orwell festival, and the minutes of the meeting are published here.