Musicians start picking Friday night and continue jamming until the last folks leave on Sunday. Those present Saturday evening take a break to enjoy a covered dish supper with barbecued pork as the centerpiece. Folks are welcome to camp on the farm. Or they can choose to stay in one of the many hotels within a fifteen to thirty minute drive from the farm. The Phlegars charge no admission, but do ask for donations to help with expenses such as Porta-Jon rentals and paper products.
The 2010 CFS Old-Time Music Jam Weekend is July 23-25. Call Tom at 704-535-2154 by July 12th to let him know you're going. Tom says to come, even if you've not called to RSVP -- just be sure to bring a dish to share at Saturday supper. Plan to take chairs and instruments. The weekend is a family event, so please leave distilled spirits at home and limit the malted beverages.
Following is Tom Hanchett's summary of last year's weekend:
For twenty-one years now, CFS stalwarts Tom and Barbara Phlegar have hosted an annual July picking party at the family's home in the Virginia mountains. I finally got there last summer, and now I can hardly wait 'til July to go back.
It's only about three hours up I-77 north of Charlotte to Giles County, but it's like entering another world. Giles' biggest "industry" is the New River and the whole county does its best to welcome hikers, canoers, and others who love old-time mountain living. Tom Phlegar grew up there and he returned many years ago to build a new little timber-frame cabin - incorporating a handsome stone chimney from a 1700s dwelling that had burned.
Local pickers and listeners mingled with nearly two dozen travelers from Charlotte, all chatting comfortably in lawn chairs under century-old oaks and maples, the mountains rising above us all around. No stage, no microphones, just people sharing tunes.
And stories. Les Sears, retired postmaster, delighted CFS member Sharon Collins with a string of tales about his favorite fishing hole. Fish are so eager to bite, he claims, that you have to stand behind a tree to be able to bait a hook. When you catch them, the fish are so big that it only takes seven of them to make a dozen. In a cow pasture off to one side of the house, pickers from the local State Line band ripped through high-energy bluegrass standards, then a sweet-voiced version of Mr. Bojangles. On the other side of the cabin, the Gold Rush Band, who have mostly retired into their day jobs after a period on the national bluegrass circuit, remembered old favorite songs.
Elsewhere, little kids ran and danced while young fiddler Chris Via and his senior citizen band-mates played the old-time stringband tunes of Henry Reed, the legendary Virginia mountain fiddler who inspired the Red Clay Ramblers. After a potluck dinner, Chris teamed up with CFS fiddler Tom Walsh to play for cloggers, as Charlotte's Karen Singleton provided instruction for anyone new to dancing.
A big thank-you to Tom, Barbara, and all the others who make this an annual delight. Hope to see many CFS friends there in July!
Directions from Charlotte and points in North Carolina and South Carolina: