Well here we are again. It’s that time of year again, the Wintergrass festival. This year is one of great changes. The festival has had 16 years in Tacoma, and this year, its 17th year, it packed up and moved up north to Bellevue, for a variety of reasons. This was very traumatic to those of us who have been loyal fans for years. It’s always been convenient for us since we lived twenty minutes from the previous venue. As I’d already purchased tickets when they announced the move, we decided to go for it. Of course this means a three-night hotel stay, and figuring out pet arrangements, and a house-sitter. I went into this figuring nothing could be as good as the old Wintergrass. Bluegrass, at the upscale Hyatt, in upscale Bellevue? Hmmph. I was prepared to be disappointed.
Boy, was I wrong. This is a fabulous venue. All of the concert venues are in the hotel complex itself, instead of being scattered all over downtown Tacoma. There are literally dozens of good restaurants and shops within a few blocks, if you choose to leave the hotel. The staff at the Hyatt have just taken this on as a mission, and could not be more welcoming. The public spaces for vendors and the multitudes of jammers are much more spacious.
The festival runs Thursday night, Friday night, and all day Saturday and Sunday. We had tickets to the Seattle Symphony on Thursday night, so we missed the first evening. Last night was terrific. My favorite group from yesterday was the Infamous Stringdusters, but a close second was the Steep Canyon Rangers. My only complaint so far is that there are too many fine artists here, and it is impossible to see them all. Oh, and one of us forgot to put the camera cord in the bag, so there will be no Wintergrass photos posted to the blog for now.
I also brought numerous knitting projects with me on the trip. You can’t have too many knitting projects when you’re away from home for a few days. So far all I’ve worked on is a spindle project. I’ve gotten most of the way through a half a pound of natural-colored Blue Faced Leicester over the past few months, and I brought the spindle and fiber to the Ballroom with me last night. If I thought knitting was an oddity here, you should see the looks I get while spinning in between music sets. I’m certain that I’m the only one with a spindle here, but I’m hoping to start a trend. I’ll have John get photos so I can post them later, when we get that camera cord. We’re off to find breakfast, then to stalk some banjo men.