Letter: Safe, enjoyable weekend of bluegrass
It was a hot summer evening under the beautiful Montana sky as music lovers gathered at Roosevelt Park in Troy for the second annual Kootenai River Bluegrass Festival.
As fiddle players rosined up their bows and campers claimed their small piece of earth for a weekend stay, children and adults alike found their way to the cool riverbanks just beyond the pavilion to take a much-needed reprieve from a hot day of travel. Occasionally, a glimpse of someone dancing barefoot on the lawn or a woman honing her Hula-hoop skills could be captured.
Bluegrass musicians came from all over the Northwest and Canada to share their incredible talents with our small community. The reoccurring theme threaded throughout the weekend was that of peace, relaxation and family fun – as evidenced by the smiles and laughter that echoed.
Perhaps the loudest and most notable applause should be given not necessarily to the musicians showcased, but to the director of this project, Ralph Stever, for successfully pulling off an event of this caliber without the presence of a beer garden as the focal point. Even in its absence, the parking lot at Roosevelt Park still filled up and committed community members and fans of bluegrass music stayed until the last song was played – in spite of the excruciating heat.
Although there were people who did bring coolers containing alcoholic beverages, they appeared to be drinking in moderation and responsibly. The three-day festival went off without incidence. According to Mr. Stever, the number of people attending this year was even greater than the first year and he anticipates that the popularity of this event will continue to increase. This speaks to the issue that alcohol doesn’t have to be the No. 1 guest on the invite list for people to enjoy a fun-filled community event.
Hats off to Ralph Stever and the Troy Fine Arts Council for doing such a fantastic job of bringing our community together for a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Vel Shaver, Lincoln County prevention specialist, Flathead Valley Chemical Dependency Clinic, Libby