Fan Fair 2001 & Nashville [part 3]

Before we move on to Branson/Missouri I must tell you about something I forgot to mention. I bet a lot of people who attended Fan Fair did not know that there was another Festival on at the same time. We only found out because friends of ours where playing at it. Don & Annie Kidwell from Bakersfield/CA invited us to come along to the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, where the Independent Musicfest was held between June 14th and 16th. This was probably the best kept secret as we didn't see any advertising for it anywhere! We decided to go along and as the Municipal Auditorium is on the route the shuttle buses where taking, we thought: 'Good, we can get off there!' Not so! The buses where going past it alright - but weren't allowed to stop! We couldn't believe it!
Anyway, we decided there was nothing else for it, but to walk it! Quite a distance from the hotel we were at, especially with bad legs! The event was in a huge hall, and unfortunately it was not very busy! Of course we where not surprised at that with the lack of advertising, but we where surprised at the quality of the acts which appeared there. Not all where strictly Country, but all entertained and where very good!
Of course we had gone firstly to see (..and meet after only exchanging e-mails for a couple of years!) Don and Annie Kidwell and their band. What a great set they played, their CDs really don't do them justice.
Another band which really caught our attention was the Will Triplett Band from Alaska. All their songs had been written by Will and there was some really good stuff there. Especially 'Highway Nights And Interstate Days', which is already riding high in the US charts. Listen out for that name, I am sure we will hear a lot more about this talented and very nice guy in the future.
There will be another Independent Musicfest next year, so if you are heading to Fan Fair, why not find out about it and go and see for yourself!

Now that I have told you about that we can go back to our schedule. We finished in the last Mag. that we were heading to Branson/Missouri. To us it feels like going home these days, this was our 4th time courtesy of 'American & Country Music Holidays'.

After a 10 hour drive which took us through Kentucky and past the Mississippi river we finally got into Missouri. Springfield first and then down the brand new Highway 65 to Branson. This was the first time we experienced it without any major road works, what a difference! It took them 6 years to finish blasting the wide road through the mountains and rocks, well worth the efforthotel in Branson
We arrived at our basic, but very comfortable hotel, unpacked, showered and went straight back out to BT Bones for dinner. This is where we met up with the rest of the group and had a very pleasant evening!

Next day it was the sight seeing tour on the 'Ducks', which are amphi..... and its the most fun way to see everything. It takes you round Branson, to the Dam, right up into the mountains and then down on to Lake Taneycomo! The Capt'n on these vehicles are great comedians and make the trip very worthwhile and enjoyable. At the end you even get a certificate, much appreciated by the 'kid' in everyone!!

Brigitte meets MoeIn the evening it was off to the Moe Bandy Show. Moe is quite settled in his new theatre now and his show is as polished and funny as ever.At the break and at the end of the show he makes a point to come and say 'Hello' to everyone who comes to see him, a nice gesture and well appreciated by his many fans!

Then it was off to 'Charlie's' for a night cup! Charlie's is the local steakhouse and a very comfortable pub. Head barman Francois from France makes everyone welcome and this establishment has been our 'local' for a couple of years now. The rest of the group quickly made it their 'local' as well, especially after owner Charlie and his wife Nancy made the point of being there to welcome everyone too. Charlie is a real nice guy, mad on fishing with a good few stories to tell. Its his wish to one day come to Scotland, we hope so!

Next day we had a good rest, enjoyed the sunshine and shops before setting out for the Pierce Arrow Show. The first time we saw this show was 4 years ago in one of the smaller theatres, now they have progressed and are probably one of the best shows in Branson. They have moved to a big theatre, which was very busy. As most shows they have a comedian, but this one is something else. His name is Paul Harris, and I am sure he will not stay there. He is a very funny, handsome young man and also a great singer and musician. Some day he will be snapped up and will become a very big name. (You read it here first!)

Jean & Tracey meet CharlieJust to prove how popular this show is, even Charly Pride came to see the show. He was there on a night out and happily posed for pictures!

Next day everyone did their own thing until night time, when it was time for 'Country Tonite', a very fast and glamorous Country show. The time just flew in, one Country song new & old after the other. I am sure each artist was good enough to have a CD in the charts, very talented indeed. The youngest performer was around 10, you could see how much she was enjoying herself with proud Mum watching in the wings. After that it was back to 'Charlie's', this time for a meal as well.

Next night it was to the 'Legends in Concert'. We had looked forward to this show, but it was probably the first time that we were disappointed. The tribute artists to Garth Brooks, the Blues Brothers, Britney Spiers, Elvis Presley and a couple more really weren't up to much. We found it a pretty boring show.

Next morning first thing we where off to the 'Silver Dollar City Park'. Its a park with shops, shows, rides and attractions which explain how things where done 100 years ago. All the staff dress as they would have then, very nice and colourful. Some in the group weren't too keen on the park, mostly because the rides weren't scary enough and not enough of them. But we were looking for a nice relaxing day out with lots to see and the chance to go back in history a bit, so we really enjoyed ourselves. But it was hot, and if you are not too good at the walking, think twice. Its very hilly and can be quite exhausting to get round. We loved it!

Hey wee man !Well, after that it was the end of the tour for most, some people went back to England and Jean & Tracey went back to Scotland. We were lucky enough to stay on a couple more days courtesy of Bill Lynn and we took our chance to have a good rest, even read a book and generally lazed about in the sunshine.

During those last couple of days we saw the worst thunder storm and rain we had ever seen, even the sight-seeing helicopters, who where stationed across the hotel from us, where put into their sheds in case they got blown away! Weather warnings where on the TV and it was quite scary, but exciting just the same! A couple of hours later the sun was shining again just as if nothing had happened!

One more drink at Charlie's, then it was off for home! What a great holiday it was!

© CMD Scotland 2002 © 2003 Country Music & Dance Scotland