Sunny Shines at Arizona Bluegrass Festival

I knew that my trip to the Florence, Arizona Bluegrass Festival this weekend was gonna be great fun.  I travelled with 20 or so of my close friends and we arranged to camp together.  Once we circled our wagons at the festival, the jamming began. 

After our first jam session, the organizers of the event came by our campsite to see if any of us would like to participate in the band scramble that night.  Not because they heard us playing, but just because they were very nice and possibly desperate for participants.

I had never done a band scramble before and at first I declined.  But then I realized this might be my last chance ever to play in a Bluegrass band.  After all, what if I DROP DEAD TOMORROW?!

I signed up as did 5 of my friends.  A total of five bands was created from the entries, but none of the bands contained more than 2 of my traveling musician friends.

Here are the rules for the band scramble. Not much time to come up with a plan and practice.

Let's Get Ready To Scramble!

That is me on the far left

The exact details of what happened after that have been somewhat disputed. But I swear I did not cheat.

Once the organizers selected the members for the five bands, we all went off to prepare.  When I joined my group I learned my fellow band members included a lady who played stand up bass, a 10 year old girl who played dulcimer and sang like an angel. 

Also with us was Tom, a cracker jack banjo teacher in his eighties, and a young mandolin player, Zak, who I had seen compete at other festivals.  This stellar group joined me and a beginner guitar player (the little girl’s dad) to round out our band.

After a quick discussion we chose our 3 songs. Our playlist featured the little girl singing with a dulcimer break and Tom playing dynamite hot licks on the banjo for our finale.  We selected our band name, “Frosty Arizona Morn” and after a short practice were ready for bright lights and fame. 

I stepped out onto the stage in front of 50’s (as opposed to hundreds or thousands) of people. Being out there on a professional stage was thrilling. Especially since all I had to do was play three chords over and over for the length of three songs.  Shoot even I can do that.

Me with my prize T-Shirt

And the Winning Band is...

As soon as the little girl sang the first note, the crowd went wild.  Tom finished our set off with some crazy unique banjo licks.  When the crowd’s applause was measured by DB meter for each group, my band was the clear winner.  Stormy always liked to say, “It’s better to be lucky than good.”  I sure got lucky with this group!

Tom Tears Up the Banjo playing "Woah Mule"

Other Highlights of Florence

St. Anthony’s Monastery just down the road from the Rodeo Grounds where we attended the festival was amazing.  Featuring five incredibly ornate chapels and immaculately landscaped grounds, our tour here was a highlight of the trip.  What an oasis to find in the desert.

Of course what trip would be complete without a stop at the local winery.  Windmill Winery in Florence offered an eclectic setting for a tranquil and colorful afternoon of wine tasting.

In Loving Memory

Stormy Weathers

About Sunny Weathers

Pilot, motorcyclist and full time RVer. Follow me as I travel all over the US in my Country Coach RV volunteering, making new friends and pursuing a constant outdoor temperature between 70F and 80F. I'll share the fun and the tribulations and any great survival tricks I learn!

17 Replies to “Sunny Shines at Arizona Bluegrass Festival”

  1. Most excellent Sunny, wish I could have been there. Keep on pickin and grinnin. Jim

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      I wish you could have been there too! Thanks, Jim!!

  2. jim Sandy dukeman says: Reply

    Way to go girl!!!!! You would have regretted it for a long time if you had not joined in with the group. He is quite a banjo player but I would sure like to have heard that little girl sing. Keep up the good work, we are fine and miss you and wish we were there, live the dream for us too. GOD BLESS
    Jim & Sandy

  3. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

    You are right about regretting if I had not done it. Wish you guys were here too! Miss you, S

  4. Michele Hilberth says: Reply

    Awesome! Looks like fun my friend. So happy that you made sure to find a winery. Miss u.

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      Me too on the winery. Google made it hard to find, but we persevered.

  5. Sylvia M Strouse says: Reply

    Great Trip Wish I could have joined you.

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      I wish you were there too!

  6. Pretty amazing. Maybe you should take your show on the road.

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      I think I would be out of luck unless I could get a bunch of kids to let me join them ?

  7. Just be careful, the stage can get very addictive. From one who knows…….

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      Hey there! So glad to hear from you! Sadly I lack the talent to be allowed on a stage very often so I may be safe ?

    2. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      Hey there! So glad to hear from you! Sadly I lack the talent to be allowed on a stage very often so I may be safe ?

  8. I loved the last minute appeal and scramble of your band and it all worked for the good! What detailed beauty of the churches. Looks like God is guiding you to cherished people times and good strumming extravaganzas! Keep adventuring!!!
    Diane S.

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      I will, thanks!

  9. Joan and Jim Clark says: Reply

    Hey Girl,

    I just spoke with David Knight and he said I could still find you here! I was going through some old motorcycle photos and found some and also on the Lake with Gene’s sailboat. I want you to have them as lots are of Stormy and you. If you have a sane way of me mailing them to you let me know girl. They are sure some good memories for us all. Otherwise, I will hold onto them until you are nearby. So happy to see that pretty smile and you are still traveling. I miss our RV so much! Hugs to you ladybug. Love, Joan & Jim Clark

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      Thanks, Joan. So good to hear from you. I will email my address to you. You and Jim take care. Love you too!

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