It’s pretty hard to beat toe-tappingly good, canned country music at events. In fact, only one thing can beat it – live music, from the heart music. From September 19 through 21, 2014, between 300 to 325 attendees of the Warburg Harvest Hoedown enjoyed old-time country music jam sessions with the convenience of meals served on site.
Three core bands were joined by over sixty talented singers, and fifty jamming fiddlers, guitarists, and bass players. Throw in all the homey comforts of RV camping just a stone’s throw away, and you have the makings of an incredible weekend.
These jam sessions are becoming such a popular event, the next ones have already been scheduled for 2015 – The first weekend in June, the second weekend in August (both called the Warburg Community Jamboree), and the third weekend in September is known as the Warburg Harvest Hoedown.
Chuck Gordy of Edmonton wears the chief organizer cap and has been organizing country jam sessions in various locations in Alberta for over ten years. His friend, Vern Stocking, is the MC and sound man. Les and Susie Szepesi of Warburg are the local organizers and contacts.
With so many RVs converging on Warburg for the event, the area at the west end of the arena resembled a KOA campground. Les was quite impressed with the growing number of people attending, “We had over 80 RVs this time!” An added perk is the free shuttle service provided by Gordy from the hall to the camping area.
“It’s not just old people that come to jam,” said Susie, “On Friday night we had a 16-year-old girl playing polkas, jigs and reels. And she was good!” Guests attended from as far away as British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Slave Lake.
Gordy invited three bands from Eckville and Westlock to serve as the core musicians. They rotate playing all weekend long.
The jam singers and instrumental musicians are granted free admission, but must register. This year, there were over sixty singers, each allowed to sing two songs with the band providing backup music. Fifty jammers registered. Their instrument cases sitting on tables running the length of the hall made quite the impression. These entertainers have heart, too. Gordy said some of them arrived on Monday and took time out to sing for the seniors at Cloverleaf Manor.
Jam sessions are non-profit which necessitates admission and meal fees. Susie and Joan Sommer run the concession to help defray event expenses.
These jam sessions are a great community builder with good old-time country music and Sunday gospel music, good meals, and good times. The organizers would love to see you at an upcoming session.
“Come join the fun, meet new people and dance the weekend away,” said Gordy. “We have a big area for RV parking. Even the Mayor comes out to join us for fun, food and dancing!”