Since our foundation, our cornerstone program has been our celebration of Pride. We started in 2017 by marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade, the largest gathering of LGBT people and allies in the United States. On our float, we featured 3 bands representing the best in bluegrass and old-time music, alongside a marching contingent of over 100 music lovers.
This inaugural Bluegrass Pride celebration was a huge success and brought us acclaim in the form of two prizes from San Francisco Pride: the Absolutely Fabulous Musical Contingent Award and the Best of the Best Overall Contingent Award. It was the first time in the Parade's 47-year history that a first-time entrant had won the grand prize, and the first year that any bluegrass association worldwide celebrated Pride.
Since then, we have gone on to celebrate Bluegrass Pride in three other cities: Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Raleigh, North Carolina.
These celebrations allow us to quickly, publicly communicate with large audiences that traditional American music has room for people from all backgrounds, despite any outdated stereotypes that may linger in popular culture. It allows us to introduce large audiences to the unique and compelling sound of bluegrass and old-time music. And, most importantly, it allows us to celebrate and honor the LGBT members of our community.
In our goal to introduce new people to bluegrass, we wanted to similarly ensure that we provided opportunities for beginners to join the scene. One way we do that is by offering a monthly beginner-friendly jam in San Francisco specifically meant to be accessible to beginner players.
The Root is an educational initiative created by Bluegrass Pride, dedicated to providing general guidance to all bluegrass and old-time pickers out there who are just getting started out. Named for the foundational note in a chord, The Root covers the essential topics that beginners may be too scared or too lost to ask, such as how to find a teacher who’s right for you, what the Nashville number system is, and how not to be a jam buster. The goal is that these videos will help folks get up to speed and give them the tools they need to start jamming offline, thus bringing new folks into local jam scenes and festival grounds all over the country.
New videos for The Root are released each month, and feature the wisdom of all-star instructors such as Nate Lee, Megan Lynch-Chowning, Jake Blount, Bill Evans, and more. You can also watch all episodes of The Root in the new section on our website. Check out the link in the menu bar!
We are proud to manage a thriving Facebook group with hundreds of members, where people from around the world can connect, share resources, ideas and playing techniques, and share photos and news from around the bluegrass community. Interested in joining? Click here. You can also view our happenings from our public Facebook page.