While reaction on the Grey Fox email list to news about the festival's new site has been generally positive, posters expressed surprise and concern about the festival's decision not to use its historic old stage on the new grounds.
The same funky little stage has been used since the founding of the festival, but it lacks the facilities and amenities of a modern festival stage. So I can see that it makes sense for Grey Fox to use the move as an opportunity to upgrade, although rumors of a temporary metal stage are disappointing.
Probably it is too late for this year to build out an elaborate new facility, so bringing in a portable structure may be the only alternative. I have no doubt that management will do all they can with stage sets and graphics to make it feel homey. But nobody expects it to have the charm and character of the old stage.
Hopefully, the portable stage will be a stopgap solution and plans are underway for a grand new structure on the Walsh Farm site for Grey Fox 2009 and beyond.
Meanwhile, email list posters are proposing lots of interesting ideas about what to do with the old stage. A section of it could be incorporated in a new design, or pieces of it could be auctioned for charity.
The following post by Angela Hall was one of the moving tributes to the old stage.
Now that we are about to settle onto the [Walsh] Farm site and are filled with anticipation and heightened excitement for all things new. I lament over what I consider to be a true loss, that is, of our Main Stage.
Our sweet, looks like somebody's front porch, little stage resonates with the harmonies, melodies and rhythms of (without exaggeration) some of the greatest music in the world.
Our little stage, all dressed up in its best floral arrangements, was both humble and charming at the same time. It has nurtured the likes of the Shankman Twins, Nickel Creek, Alison Krauss, to name a few, as they grew and honed there art. Not to mention the future Casey Dreasons, Sam Bushs, Mark Suttons, Missy Raines through the Kids Academy. Who's performances highlighted Sunday Morning.
It has hosted the Greats of Bluegrass. Some of which are no longer with us. One memory I hold dear was standing in the pouring rain in 2000, mud up to my ankles, to hear John Hartford, loving every second of it.
This is where Doc Watson sat. This is where Del McCoury stood. This is where Rushad Eggelston leap into the crowd. This is where the "Old And In The Way" reunion was held and where Sam Bush played until 2:00 a.m. and that's only "current events."
This little stage has endured season after season, loyally waiting for the warmth and beauty that came annually every third week in July.
Not modern, back stage looked like a shack. But, if walls could talk! This truly is a relic of Americana History and will be missed. For this I mourn.