Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

...twenty-one years old, raised in Chicago’s South Shore, and had been a bluegrass fan and banjo player for a decade. Yet I was still a relative newcomer and cultural outsider to bluegrass music, being part of that rising wave of urban fans captured by the driving...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

...section, I must also single out a few more who helped me in key ways: Guylia Bunge Smith kept alive the history of the earliest phase of the Brown County Jamboree through her mother’s...

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Introduction: Rural Country Music Parks

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pp. xv-xxiv

...describes these parks, noting features including picnic grounds where families and friends would enjoy “dinner on the ground,” a phrase evoking the historical context of church-based all-day singing events. Smith observes the parks’ roofedover stages, benches, and...

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1. Brown County History and Roots

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pp. 1-11

...traveling to the busy county seat, Nashville, or to lovely Brown County State Park, a few miles farther south. For most of the town’s modern history, automobile passage through Bean Blossom didn’t take very long, and to most travelers, the small town’s sights probably...

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2. Origins of the Brown County Jamboree, 1939–41

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pp. 12-20

...either; many contain evident errors of fact, and the disputed dates, even those reported in contemporary newspapers, were given to the papers by a variety of individuals. Despite the uncorroborated...

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3. The Rund Family's Brown County Jamboree, 1941-51

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pp. 21-47

...goods” for local farm produce. Francis Rund operated two grocery stores in the suburban Indianapolis towns of Greenwood and Stones Crossing; his brothers, Forest, Roy, and Theodore, were also grocers. In 1938, Francis Rund started developing his farmland...

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4. Bill Monroe's Brown County Jamboree Park, 1952-57

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pp. 48-65

...Jamboree in the spring of 1952. The actual deal to buy Rund’s Brown County Jamboree, reached in the last days of 1951, was such a watershed event in the history of bluegrass music that most bluegrass artists and fans—even those who befriended Monroe in the early...

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5. Survivals, Revivals, and Arrivals, 1958-66

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pp. 66-89

...Baker, who first worked as Monroe’s fiddler in 1957, recalled the effect of rock and roll on artists who would not or could not adapt: “There was a few years there about the time that this rock and roll came in. It wasn’t only bluegrass music, but all of country music shot...

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6. Building the Festivals, 1967-68

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pp. 90-107

...showtime, promising only that Bill would once again open the season. From the late 1940s on, Bill’s show often began with a short opening set by the Shenandoah Valley Trio, who were simply the Blue Grass Boys, wearing hats but performing without Bill. Bill’s show also...

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7. The Festival Becomes a Landmark, 1969-71

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pp. 108-122

...Moreover, the nominal duration of Monroe’s festival increased from two days in 1967 to three in 1968 and four in 1969. The band contest was retained in 1969 as a Friday-afternoon event, and the Monroes added a banjo contest for Thursday, with a Gibson...

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8. The Festival's Golden Age, 1972-82

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pp. 123-144

...bluegrass festivals everywhere and became a model Monroe seemed driven to follow thereafter, not only at new festivals but at Bean Blossom itself. The June festival grew in size and stayed perennially profitable, but its evolution as a new sort of business ended once the key...

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9. Festival People and Lore

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pp. 145-158

...In the earliest festival years, many attendees slept in simple tents, or on the ground next to their cars. The camping experience played a part in forming the shared sense of community that eventually...

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10. Bill and James Monroe's Festival Park, 1983-97

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pp. 159-178

...Birch Monroe’s death brought resonating memories of his former presence at the June and fall festivals. Fans’ fading memories of “Uncle Birch” fed a dawning sense that times had changed and that the festivals’ early...

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11. Renaissance, Continuity, and Change, 1998 and After

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pp. 179-190

...In early 1998, the swirl of Bean Blossom rumors ended with word that a former Blue Grass Boy—Dwight Dillman, of Peru, Indiana—had bought the music park from James Monroe. Using...

Notes

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pp. 191-208

Interviews

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pp. 209-212

Bibliography

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pp. 213-220

Index

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pp. 221-248

Illustrations

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pp. 249-263

Back Cover

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