This past weekend, I made a trek to York, PA and attended the 10th Annual Pennsylvania Cigar Box Guitar Festival. It was a heck of a good time and I drew a ton of inspiration from the folks in attendance. In fact, as soon as I got home, I started my first electric washboard build. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the festival, it is said to be one of the premier cigar box guitar events in the United States. It takes place every year in the parking lot of York Emporium bookstore. With lots of vendor booths, an indoor stage, an outdoor stage, and a plethora of CBGs, there was no shortage of things to see and do.
I was able to see Those Baron Boys kick off the show with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, watch One String Willie perform on his 2X4 diddley bow, witness DIYatronics attempt to start a musical riot, see John Nickel reinvent the one man band, and so much more. It was a proverbial paradise for a Cigar Box Nation member. Additionally, I got to hang out with a bunch of “famous” folks from the community. I spent a lot of time chatting with Preston J Laisure and Sparky37 from the CBG Minded Michiganders. I swapped some building tips with Casey Baron. I even talked to Matt “MajicDaddy” Simpson about washboards and ended up buying one from him. Shortly after I arrived at the festival, I was engaged in a discussion with Lou LaManna, whom I originally met at Speal’s Tavern last November (see my blog entry HERE for more details). Lou gave me a copy of his latest CD, which is great by the way!
At one point in the afternoon, I was shootin' the breeze with Jim Morris and Lou LaManna. We were discussing the resourcefulness of the CBG community, and - right on cue - Shane Speal walked up to ask what we were talking about. Woah! Here I was, a relatively new CBN member from Texas, standing across from three of the Cigar Box Nation’s superstars. The moment made me realize something obvious but profound. The famous folks in this subculture are just guys like you and I. There’s no pretension or elitism here. We’re just a bunch of crazies who like to put a stick through a box and add some strings.
As many of you already know, approximately 266 festival attendees (various sources have quoted numbers between 263 and 268) made it into The Guinness Book of World Records when they set the benchmark for the world’s largest cigar box guitar ensemble. It was incredibly cool to see so many folks walking around with cigar box guitars slung over their shoulders or across their backs just waiting to make their mark on the civilized world. It really embodied the spirit of the Cigar Box Nation. It’s crazy ideas like this which make "The Nation" great. As Shane Speal said back in 2008, “this is our revolution, instead of holding pitchforks, we’re holding cigar box guitars.” I couldn’t agree more.
Check out the full album of pics here: https://cigarboxnation.com/photo/albums/pennsylvania-cbg-festival-8...
See One String Willie sing about clean livin' here: https://cigarboxnation.com/video/one-string-willie-at-the-pa-cbg-fe...