We’re thrilled to (once again) be readying ourselves to head in just a few weeks to Winfield, officially known as the Walnut Valley Festival. Mass Street Music has been attending this fantastic festival and meeting ground for friends old and new for well over 20 plus years. We always look forward to the festival, which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year and we’ll be setting up our mini-Mass St Music in our regular spot under the grandstand Thursday – Sunday, September 15 – 18. We’ll be stocked with everything from strings, picks and tuners to Collings, Eastman and Taylor guitars and much more. If you are there, please stop by and say hello to our Winfield Crew of co-owners Jim Baggett and John Flynn, luthier Josh Baldridge, sales manager Tim Nelson plus our great friends from Taylor Guitars, Eric Sakimoto and David Kaye, as well as our good buddy from Martin Guitars, Steve Strong. We were chatting about all the great Winfield moments the other day at the store and took a few minutes to ask our Mass Street contingent of the ‘Winfield Crew’ about some of their best memories over the years.
What are some of your favorite past Winfield experiences?
“Before Nickel Creek was Nickel Creek, Sean Watkins and Chris Thile came by our booth sometimes. They were phenomenal players even back then when they were ‘just’ kids from the camp. The first time I saw Thile play, he was so young his feet couldn’t touch the ground when he was sitting in a chair.” – Jim B.
“I remember Tommy Emmanuel coming by the booth and one time he hung out for about an hour and a half, playing Australian folk songs – I mean three chord folks songs, and he knew all the lyrics. It was really great and a real departure from his regular repertoire.” – John F.
“One time Stephen Bennett played ‘Happy Birthday’ for our co-worker Gayland Titus – that was a lot of fun to watch. Also I really loved watching Robert Bowlin and Wil Maring playing at our booth. Their music is incredible and they’re great folks too.” – Josh B.
“The first year I was there, a small child picked up an instrument at our booth and I was initially concerned about how they might handle the instrument – suddenly they are playing it, incredibly well – ripping it up. It really educated me to the caliber of players there – no matter their age.” – Tim N.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
“I really like checking out some of the non-traditional bands – bands you don’t normally see. Also hanging out with our buddies from Taylor Guitars, plus this year my wife Jaime will be along.” – John F.
“This is the 40th anniversary of the festival, and a lot of great artists that have played there over the years will be back. When I started going to the festival years and years ago, I was out there playing, hanging out in the camps. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know a lot of the players and it’ll be great to see some of those folks again.” – Jim B.
“I’m looking forward to seeing some of our out-of-town regular customers that stop by the booth to visit – some are from Winfield and Wichita, but some are from Japan and Austria and we only see them at places like Winfield. It’s great. Also breakfast. They have a great breakfast at the College Hill Coffee House and it really gets you going.” – Josh B.
“The people – talking to folks. There’s such a positive energy there and everyone is having a great time. It’s such a great experience.” – Tim N.
If you’re on the road to Winfield in a few weeks, and drive by a long horse trailer with Douglas County plates, and part of the Mass St Music store poking through the windows, that’s us, with Jim at the wheel, heading for the festival. See you there folks!