Music Festival Jammin’

chickblog1A new feature for Fretmentor’s Blog is to hear about the experience of other music lovers, students and performers .  Today,  I have invited a guest (Chick Veenstra) to contribute a story about his attendance at his first music festival.  At Fretmentor’s Blog, I look forward to other contributions and musical articles of interest.  Please contact me to see how you can contribute such articles.

A Recipe for Fun!

  • Take 50 acres of cut cow pasture complete with patties.
  • At two intersections in the middle of nowhere, put up a big circus tent
  • Add 4-500 pickers and fans
  • Mix in 10 bands and open jams over 3 days

…and you have Yee Haw Junction—Good music, good people, and a lot of fun.

chickblog2As a first time attendee I was a bit apprehensive about the jam part, but a Bret, a fellow musician and friend, was also present and took me under his wing. I found the jams were friendly, and encouraging. The first night I struggled with hearing the chord changes, but by the end of the night things were getting easier. The second night was similar to the first one, but progress was made. By the third night, on slower songs, I found my self hearing and anticipating the chord changes and was able to play a reasonable back up.

On Sunday morning there was a Bluegrass Gospel Sing and Jam. There were some twenty pickers and about the same number of people in the audience. A booklet with words and chords for the songs was handed out for the musicians to use. It took me a while to get used to changing chords on words and not having measures to know how long a given chord would be played. I was surprised that I was not nervous in front of the crowd since I was concentrating on the music (Now if I could only do that in class!).

chickblog3All of the bands were good, each one with a unique style and sound. There was a variety of music; bluegrass, country, Gospel, original works, and one band even threw in some classical. The only down side was when a RV, three down from me, burned up on Saturday morning. No one was hurt, but the weekend was ruined for some.

I would recommend that everyone attend a festival. You will have a wonderful time and will have a better appreciation for what Fretmentor has offers when trying to teach us about playing with others.

Note: Chick Veenstra is a retiree from the lumber and building material business and lives in Wellington, Florida.  He started learning the banjo about two years ago. Says Chick “I have always liked bluegrass and the sound of the banjo so I decided to give the banjo a try. I am taking lessons from Fretmentor and attending his Wednesday night Bluegrass class in Jupiter, Florida”. Yee Haw Junction was Chick’s first Bluegrass Festival.


About fretmentor

Born in Detroit, Michigan, David F. Jakubiak has been involved in music since the age of 7, beginning as a clarinet player and then at 9 turning his attention to stringed instruments. He earned trophies in group talent competitions while a student at the University of Michigan. The instructor earned a BA degree in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Kansas. At college, he also studied classical music and music history. His passion is teaching music and in performing as a musician. In addition to on-stage performances, David has played in various venues from outdoor festivals to small nightclubs. He plays, performs and teaches various styles of music, including rock, pop, blues, jazz, classical, country and bluegrass styles. He performs and teaches acoustic and electric guitar, five-string banjo, and mandolin. His styles range from Scruggs, melodic, Reno and old-time style on banjo, to finger-style and flat-picking technique on guitar, to various styles of mandolin. For over 45 years, Mr. Jakubiak has taught all age groups, taking a personal interest in each student to ensure that they receive the attention and lesson plans that meet their needs and interests. His lessons and instructional materials place a strong emphasis on the practical use or music theory to ensure that the student understands the instrument and learns how to improvise to develop their own style. Mr Jakubiak teaches group and studio classes, webcam lessons over the internet, and individual private lessons to students of various ages. He has compiled and produced eight instructional books on CD as well as numerous instrumental arrangements. David has written for Banjo Newsletter, a monthly publication for the banjo enthusiast and has published an article in Issue #37 of the Fretboard Journal. He is the founder of To contact David Jakubiak, please feel free to e-mail him at david AT (substitute the @ sign for the word AT)
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