To get myself in the mood to write you a story, I need a little background music. That's better. The Water Tower Bucket Boys are singing their song"Crooked Road" at full blast on my computer. Ideally they would be singing it to me in real life, but since I had the pleasure of that opportunity yesterday, I probably shouldn't press my luck with an encore. 

This year's festival was by far the best I have ever attended, and I have attended all of them excepting the one in 2005 when I was working as a kayak guide in Alaska so the commute would have been a tad diffuclt, not to mention supremely expensive. But even then my thoughtful, amazing mother made me a DVD of the show complete with messages from her, my dad, and friends who were lucky enough to attend. 

Usually I feel really lucky to have a father in such a position where folks flock to him just to be part of something amazing, but around festival time I tend to feel a little bit left out, especially since Father's Day is the following Sunday and I have never been able to have a dad who has time to spend that with me. This year was completely different. Well, maybe with one exception. 
I spread my Granny's Dalmatian-printed quilt, the one she gave me for Christmas, onto the grass infront of the stage. I felt she deserved to be there too, and I know she would have loved every minute of it. My friend Dori started off the afternoon with a great set, singing her original and 40's songs with her uncle and dad backing her up on the banjo and mandolin respectively. 

Water Tower Bucket Boys. Go buy their albums on iTunes. Immediately.
With a little bit of apprehension, I watched my dad, Charles Welch, the Kruger Brother's and a few other guests take the stage to pay tribute to my good friend Doc Watson. Harper, Nick, and I, along with our friend Stephen and my cousin Leah, her friend Katie, and two of the Water Tower Bucket Boys piled onto the quilt. My heart broke a little as I watched my dad pick up the guitar I had painstakingly crafted for Doc, but of course he made it sound amazing and played it beautifully and full of grace. It was a tribute I am pretty sure Doc would have approved of; at one point we all stood and yelled, "We love you Doc!" and concluded the ceremony with a group rendition of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken". Tears streamed down my face, but I was so happy to have said a proper goodbye to Doc since I just couldn't attend the funeral and it had been eating at me ever since. The weather yesterday was amazing; Doc did that for us I am pretty sure, just like he set his guitar neck for me.  Josh Rabie, one of the Bucket Boys enveloped me a hug and it was nice to be able to share in our sadness over losing such an incredible person and musician. 

Tanner McInerey and Mac Sumner lead us in song!  
Following the amazing performances at the park, we all migrated down to my house for some barbecue and informal pickin'. I was overwhelmed with the praise I was given over my guitar by some really incredible musicians. John Arnold, a well known and respected luther, was so complimentary over my Oak creation, which means a lot as he sort of pioneered using such woods. I was honored to have met him, and to have him play my guitar for an hour and a half in the middle of the night was something worth noting in my journal. Another incredible guitarist from nearby, Steve Lewis, also played it and made the wood box literally sing. I have never heard anything quite like it. The night culminated with 19 people stuffed into a little popup camper, it's tiny fans on full blast, passing around my White Oak guitar, the Koa guitar that I helped my dad make, and a beautiful Brazilian Rosewood D size made by Max Rosa, a lawyer/luthier who came all the way from Brazil to hang out with us. I feel a sort of kindred spirit in him...wonder why...We sang songs including Wagon Wheel, Free Fallin', and multiple Johnny Cash hits long into the evening. I went to bed exhilarated and so happy that I know such great folks.

This morning, however, I was told by a woman staying at my house that I have "a reputation of being a brat". I have a good guess as to who likes to spread that rumor, and only assume it is because I desperately want to be included in my dad's world, and wish to be seen as someone more important than the throngs of visitors. Due to that insecurity I tend to keep my distance when a gaggle descends. Still, hearing that was incredibly hurtful to me, and I really hope that that isn't the thought of everyone who comes here to vist my dad, as I really enjoy spending time with most folks who stop by. Maybe she is right, but no one knows what it is like to be me, living in the shadow of someone so great that people are willing to shove his own daughter aside in order to have five minutes of his attention. On the plus side, I am so proud to have made myself a place in my dad's world and I stand by the work that I have been doing in the shop thus far. I only wish I were better able to take my dad's advice of, "when people say things you don't like, just don't listen to them." 

No one can spoil the amazing weekend I had with my amazing friends and my daddy.