Via the Mandolin Cafe comes news of the now “official” national mandolin championship. I’m not sure what the new designation means, because in most folks’ minds Winfield was already the “Championship” but apparently there was some need to set itself apart by name. Winfield, or the “Walnut Valley Festival” as it is officially known is certainly on my bucket list of things to do and see some day. I haven’t made it yet and I’ve been telling myself for ten years now that I need to go. Someday! The parking lot picking is supposed to be about the best there is in the country. With jam circles that range from texas swing, to gypsy jazz, straight bluegrass, old time and just about anything else you can think of in the acoustic realm, the festival sounds like a really good place to hang out, jam, and mutilate the calluses on your fingers, woohoo!
The photo above illustrates the down home atmosphere of Winfield, a festival that has remained largely non-commercialized even in our brave new century filled with brands eager to associate themselves with anything deemed “authentic. The festival organizers have shunned the large headliners that the big festivals tend to schedule in order to draw the big crowds. The focus at WVF has always been the contests and hopefully always will be the contests. Un-official regurgitated reconstituted re-appropriated text of the press release is below.
Winfield, Kans. — Organizers of the Walnut Valley Festival have announced that starting in 2010, the Walnut Valley Mandolin Championship will now become known as the National Mandolin Championship.
The mandolin contest is one of eight different contests held each year at Walnut Valley that include four other national contests and two international contests. Each year the championship contests draw musicians from around the world to compete against one another for the top position with their chosen instruments.
The dates for this year’s Walnut Valley Festival are September 15-19, 2010.
Entertainers for 2010 include Sierra Hull and Highway 111, The Waybacks, The Josh Williams Band, The Farewell Drifters, and many more regional and national acts.