This is my "after-action report" on the festival. First of all I want to thank all the BDers who came out for this. I was really apprehensive about how many people would show in the troubled times we live in and it was a wonderful feeling to see so many people come out. The other wonderful thing was to see how far so many people had come in their playing! People seem to be moving quicker from flat out beginner to really playing. Having more opportinities to get together with other bowed dulcimer players is, I'm sure, one of the big reasons. (Come to Dulcimerville!)
I really pushed people this year in terms of the technical material I handed out. Lots of shifting positions and playing throughout the entire range of the instrument. I saw some eyes glaze over but I think, all in all, that most people got a real boost in their playing. Many of the first time attendees became aware of the subtly of bowing and what is possible with the bow.
The evening jams were wonderful. The part of those I really appreciated was when small groups would suddenly begin playing a tune and the rest would just join them. The friendly give and take and all the support that newer people got from some of the more experienced was also great to see. From my own selfish perspective, seeing a roomful of instruments that I have built over these years was also a thrill. We had almost the entire history of the modern bowed dulcimer in one room as two people had some very early examples of bowed dulcimers, done before I had all the details worked out.
Ther will be an Eighth Annual Pilot Mountain Bowed dulcimer Festival, most likely the second weekend in April as it was this year. Mark your calenders and come on out!