By Thomas A. Adler
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Additional info for Bean Blossom: The Brown County Jamboree and Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Festivals
Jack McDonald’s memory of singing this specific song therefore dates the free show in Bean Blossom to the summer of 1940. As McDonald recalled, the next important change in the show was the addition of a stage: “The next week someone got a farm wagon and moved the event to a small area south of the filling station. A small restaurant was also located in this area. Less than 100 spectators watched the free show. As weeks went by an elevated stage built of native lumber was erected. ” McDonald remembered that the usual “open-air platform” was a flatbed truck pulled out onto a grease rack that paralleled the road, between the filling station and the Bean Blossom Lunchroom.
Later a log auditorium will be built to house the show through the winter months. Dan Williams, Beanblossom service station operator, started the show when natives of Brown County gathered at his station each Sunday evening to play their instruments and sing. When families from the county were attracted by the festivities, Williams provided a lot adjoining his place of business to take care of the crowd. Ministers in the county complained that the show was keeping their congregations from services, so Williams suggested that the clergymen hold services during a fifteen-minute period midway in the show.
Since the main performers were said to have been wearing satin cowboy shirts, they probably looked every bit the part of hillbilly entertainers, even though, among them, only Guy Smith had already developed a meaningful local reputation as a performer and square-dance promoter. Local people came to see the first free show and returned for shows each following Sunday evening. This Sunday-afternoon and -evening time slot was a constant through the entire life of the Jamboree. The Jamboree’s scheduling suggested an old-time rural context, the feeling that it was a Sunday-afternoon after-church get-together with friends, family, and talented local entertainers.