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Sept. 22: Columbia City

Friday, February 23, 2018

Toe-Tappin’ Sketchin’ at Wintergrass

2/23/18 Wintergrass jammers

It’s hard to sketch when your toes are tapping to lively bluegrass music!

For the fifth year, Urban Sketchers Seattle met at Wintergrass, the Puget Sound area’s weekend-long annual bluegrass festival at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency. I missed it last year because I was out of town, so I was especially looking forward to this year’s event, which is one of my all-time favorite sketch outings.

As I sketched the musicians who had gathered in the hotel hallways for impromptu jams, friends greeted and embraced each other, happily reuniting. Some had apparently come from distant states to participate in this long-anticipated event. I overheard them comparing program notes and planning which concerts and demos to attend. All morning, even as I heard the literal vibes of traditional music, I also sensed the vibes of happy people doing what they enjoy most – playing and listening to music. I don’t play an instrument, yet somehow their excitement felt familiar . . .

And then I suddenly realized what Wintergrass reminded me of: The Urban Sketchers Symposium. Instead of sketchbooks, pens and paints, they used fiddles, banjos and mandolins to express their common passion. Tapping and nodding to the music, I knew how they felt.

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