News from the Stairwell

The weblog of The Stairwell Sisters – All-Gal Old-Time String Band

Summer Update – Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival!

Stairwell Sisters at HSB
Photo By Mike Melnyk
I don’t know if you know this, but the Stairwell Sisters are purely a DIY operation. We are our agent, publicist, manager, graphic designers and all else. We like it this way, since we have total control over our time and money, and it doesn’t seem to have hurt us any. This makes it ever more satisfying to be reaching national festivals and audiences.

Part of the payoff is finding ourselves in the midst of a thriving and skilled traditional music scene on our home turf, and in the presence of many musical heroes and inspirations everywhere we go. Our long festival season started with the amazing but freezing Strawberry Music Festival, and ended appropriately with one of the most monumental assemblies in roots music, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park, SF. A free festival, the weekend apparently drew over 500,000 people, and several generations of performers.
Stairwell Sisters at HSB 2
Photo By Mike Melnyk
Stairwell Sisters at HSB 3
Photo By Uncle Frankie Cates
The after party brought together all the performers and crew. Laurie Lewis ran the house band, inviting people up to play. The Stairwell Sisters went up between Hazel Dickens and Jimmy Dale Gilmore. Gillian Welch and Billy Bragg shouted kudos to the band, and maybe I speak for all the gals when I was just hoping I didn’t do anything stupid. Earlier in the day The Sisters took the stage to thousands of fans new and old, Sue sporting a guitar strap Steve Earle offered to loan her. Best was the thrum of people dancing like mad, kicking up the mud. I was particularly pleased to see old friend Casey Driessen, fiddling for Steve Earle and Tim O’Brien. Emmy Lou was hanging out backstage. Earl Scruggs played Foggy Mountain Breakdown – and shouted encouragements to the Barbary Coast Cloggers who danced to his tune earlier in the day. It was almost too much, and I’m still floating.

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