Written by: Kara Kundert
Well we're all back home from a wonderful week at Grass Valley, and already missing the hot days, long nights, cold showers, and tight harmonies. I don't know about you, but I just feel so grateful to be part of such a large community of generous, compassionate, and supportive people. How lucky am I that I got to spend the last week playing hours of music each day with my friends, old and new, improving on my skills and taking risks and being lifted up by this extraordinary bluegrass family.
But beyond the picking and the incredible bands serenading us, I also was fortunate enough to bear witness to overwhelming love and enthusiasm for this project. We've started something bigger than ourselves in Bluegrass Pride. There were more than a few moments where I felt my heart swell with joy and pride this weekend. I saw hundreds of people wearing Bluegrass Pride shirts and waving our rainbow banjo flags. I watched gay couples slow dancing by the main stage, heard stories about how people were trying to support their loved ones, and witnessed new friendships being born from this movement.
One particular moment that lingers with me comes from our craft table. During our second day there -- as though we had emitted some kind of beacon -- we became a convergence point for many of the LGBTQIA kids in attendance. Some knew each other, some didn't, some were newbies to the festival and some had been coming every year since they were born. Around our little glittery and technicolor tulle covered table, we watched these kids bloom in front of our eyes. They made armbands and tutus and hairpieces in their pride colors, helping each other choose sequins and arrange ribbons. They asked each other for their pronouns and they talked about their partners, something they'd never felt safe enough to do at a festival like this before.
Their smiles just about cracked my heart open, y'all. I couldn't stop thinking: this is why we do this. If we just can help these kids feel truly and fully accepted in this community, then it will have been worth it.
This is the first chapter in their story. If we empower them and welcome them, who knows what they will accomplish? What will they do for our community, for the world?
This is the first chapter of our story. We're only just beginning.