OTR-66 Grass Valley Volunteers 2013

This coming June at Grass Valley, there will be a number of new volunteer categories, which means even more willing and helpful people will be needed to assist in making this year's camp and festival the best ever. Please consider giving of your time in one of the categories described here, unless you catch on quick.

The A440 Wakeup Crew will be assigned to operate the new All-Camp Tuning Horn each morning beginning at 6 a.m. The horn will play a 90-second tone every half-hour to assist campers in tuning their instruments to concert A pitch. Tent campers will have no trouble hearing the tone, nor will RV inhabitants, since the volume will be set at 140 dB, the decibel level of a jet engine from 100 feet away. To protect the members of the Crew (not from the sound, but from the musicians), there will be five switches connected to the Horn, but four will be dummies (the switches, not the crew--well, maybe), similar to the procedure used by a firing squad. So the identity of the Crew member actually responsible will remain unknown.

A portable version of the Tuning Horn is in research at this writing, and should be ready in late spring for use by the Roving A440 Crew (With Bodyguards) which will roam the fairgrounds 24/7 searching out ill-tuned jams and/or players and "inform by example" any tonal miscreants it finds.

Another volunteer position new this year will be the Admiration Team, whose job it will be to visit as many campsites as possible and provide praise to musicians or jams whom nobody is watching. Members of this Team will be practiced in smiling and nodding, as well as the nonverbal nudge-nod-and-point compliment technique. The Team will unobtrusively loiter near jams or musicians practicing alone (especially banjo players, for whom "alone" is pretty much a metaphysical state of being) and bring warmth, good vibes, and if they know what's good for them, beer.

The Lyric Correction Squad will make themselves available to settle disputes over lyrics or simply inject themselves unsolicited whenever they detect incorrect words being sung. They will be equipped with every laptop, smart phone, tablet, pad, notebook, electro-dish, laser-powered clipboard, and digital collection plate that exists, with military-grade wi-fi capability, and thus leave no wiki unturned. They will concentrate primarily on bluegrass areas, since old-time players rarely sing songs, or, for that matter, use words.

There will be a Tent Sympathy Brigade for the first time this year. Such Brigades have proven successful at other festivals that are attended by both tent campers and owners of RVs such as the Betelgeuse 9000 Mobile Six-Unit Apartment House. A certain amount of envy is sometimes apparent among tenters who catch sight of how the other half (the other 1%?) lives over in the Hookup Area. Some of these "groundlings" have even gone so far as to attempt water, electric, and sewage connections to their fabric flats and rip-stop residences. The Brigade will disabuse them of these impractical notions while simultaneously reminding them of the joys of outdoor living and deemphasizing the drawbacks of sleeping on a parking lot. [Author's note: The "Hookup Area" mentioned above is very different from another, more remote "hookup area" over by the lake where passions run high and the smoke smells funny. Best not to confuse the two.]

In response to voiced preferences of some audience members after last year's festival, a Shirt Tuck-In Detachment will be deployed at all stage performances to monitor who's tucking and who's not. While this Detachment will not have enforcement power (Lucky thing, too--have you seen the size of some of those untucked band members?), they will be authorized to make that "tsk, tsk" tongue noise and mutter under their breath about the state of things these days.

And finally, we'll be organizing a demonstration "combo jam" of half old-time and half bluegrass players. Volunteers will play in their own genre simultaneously with those in the opposite genre. There will not be genre discrimination or genre reassignment. (Boy, that was a long way to go for a pretty small payoff.) Chances are there'll be a lot of this: "Stand up!" "Sit down!"--"Take it!" "No!"--"Pass the bottle!" "Okay!".

A good time should be had by all, and thank you in advance for your generosity.

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Posted By:  Geff Crawford

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