Dulcimers bring sweet sounds to Oakdale Park

images-2By Caleb McCaig

Special Contributor

Every year during Mother’s Day weekend, musicians from all around flock to Oakdale Park in Glen Rose for a weekend of music during the annual Lone Star State Dulcimer Festival.

The music spans genres and depends on the people who come and who wish to play. Nationally known artists scheduled to perform include Scenic Roots, The Sawmill Vagrants, Kendra Ward and Bob Bence, The Sweet Song String Band, Scott Odena, Russell Cook, David Moran and Joe Morgan, Charles Whitmer, Betty Scott, Time Was, Sombati, Scott and Irma Reeder, Sue Carpenter, The Salt Rock Rounders, and that fabulous More Family consisting of Many, Much and Some.

The concerts and workshops are free. See the festival flyer here Glen_Rose_Flyer_2013 and the festival schedule here Glen_Rose_2013_stage.

Also taking place this weekend are the Texas Hammered Dulcimer Championship, the Texas State Mountain Dulcimer Championship and the Texas Liar’s Contest. Gospel music  will be performed Sunday morning.

Mike Jeter, an attendee for more than 20 years, described the event this way: “There’s everything between a 16th century harpist to jazz and gospel.”

Much of the music has a rhythm you can tap your foot to, or even find a partner and dance.

“Around 60 percent of the music is something you can dance to similar or originating from Appalachian music,” Jeter said.

The musical line-up usually includes a few headliners who bring out the crowd, but that’s not the main attraction. Anywhere you go in Oakdale Park during the festival, you are bound to see multiple jam sessions between local artists or just festival attendees. No stage, and the people may not even know each other. If you have an instrument and someone else does, you’re likely to start up a tune with another individual.

The festival’s roots are unique. Around 30 or so years ago, according to Jeter, “two men who were woodshop teachers from Mansfield were visiting Oakdale Park with their significant others and had started an informal jam session underneath a tree in the park.”

This started a chain reaction of people showing up and just playing the music they wanted to and started what is now the Oakdale Park’s biggest festival of the year.

If you play an instrument of any kind, you are encouraged to bring it and you will likely find another musician willing to play a song or two with you.

Not only is there music for the crowd, but there are also vendors who sell crafts and goods for those who attend. Shops that sell musical instruments, food and even one that sells custom ballpoint pens also show up.

“The Dulcimer Festival is something that is a great family atmosphere and is something for all ages,” as Jeter said. “If you hear something during the festival and don’t like it, then walk a few feet in a different direction and you’ll probably find something you do like.”

For more information, visit www.LSSDS.com or glenrosetexas.net.


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