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Another one of my unconventional interests is bluegrass music. I'm not a fan of country, but bluegrass I can get in to. A few years ago, I was learning to play 5-string banjo (Scruggs style). It is a difficult and fun instrument to play, and I plan to take it up again when I can afford it.
In a normal year, I'm out storm observing in the Plains during Memorial Day weekend, so I always miss the Vandalia festival in Charleston. Thanks to the unfavorable observing conditions in the Plains this weekend, I'll actually get to go to Vandalia this year. The event is a bluegrass festival held on the grounds of the State Capitol. At Vandalia, amateur and professional musicians come from all around and start impromptu jam sessions all around the Capitol lawn. The cool thing is that you don't have to be in a band or even be a pro - if you've got an instrument and know how to play, you can join in and start jamming with any of the groups. The result is a number of acoustic bluegrass concerts under the trees at the Capitol unlike any other. No amps or electronics, just old-style back-porch bluegrass jam sessions like you'd have seen 60 years ago in the rural areas of Appalachia. Vandalia started today and continues tomorrow at the West Virginia State Capitol.
Here is a video clip of a few of the Vandalia jam sessions today.
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