The Superbowl for Old Time Bands
Produced in collaboration with Lawrence Carter-Long as team Frieda y Diego for KCRW's 3rd annual Radio Race.
Last Saturday, August 8th, with a tofu scramble on the hob, my partner-in-crime and I counted the minutes to the email from KCRW, the radio station behind Radio Race. Radio Race is the ironman of the radio/audio production world and challenges teams (or individuals) to produce a 4 minute audio piece within 24 hours. So, at about 12:45pm- 15 minutes before the 1:00pm email announcing the theme and kick-off- we started (frantically) looking for interesting events happening in the DC metro area. Our hearts soared when we fond the world's largest fiddler convention, but sank when we realized it was in Galax, VA- a 5 hour drive away. We restated our mantra, "we don't have to go far to find a good story."
At 1:00pm-on-the-dot, we read the theme, "time change" and we fumbled for a few minutes. Nothing seemed to make our hearts beat faster- my only indicator that a story should be told. So, despite knowing that I was committing to a 10 hour drive that would fall squarely on my shoulders, I made the snap decision to suggest the fiddle festival. Lawrence and I discussed it for about two minutes before we threw caution to the wind, leapt to our feet, and went to rent a car I fondly named "Murder Trap."
We hit the road- and lord, I wish that Lawrence had recorded my grumbles, growls, and panicked snippiness as we raced against time to get to the festival. I was freaking out- and it would have made great tape. Would Murder Trap fulfill it's name? Would I have driven 5 hours only to arrive at a closed festival? Would we even have tape? Would I be too tired to drive back safely? And, would Lawrence be too tired to whip up some editing magic? Would we have anything decent to submit?
After 5+ hours demanding that Lawrence cheer me on as we passed big hauls, we rolled into Galax, Virginia- the "capital of old time music." We passed by the five and dime, an elk's lodge wishing all the fiddlers good luck, and a farm supply store with a line of wooden rocking chairs. We parked under an old-time theatre advertising a fiddle event and still couldn't find our way to the festival, so I began asking every person we met. We followed friendly directions and footprints painted on the sidewalk and soon found our way to the ticket gate of the fiddle festival.
I'll let our tape take it from there, but I hope it conveys the enchanting night filled with spirited music and the warm community that continue the musical traditions.
Of course, the 12 hour drive and sheer exhaustion of the race were worth it and I can't wait to attend the full weekend next year!