From The Side of the Road… there’s a day for that!
We’re constantly trying to find new and more effective ways to market bluegrass music to a wider audience, or just a less narrow audience, if you want to look at it that way. I’ve recently returned from the IBMA World of Bluegrass, where ideas about the future of the business are exchanged in seminars like the one I attended at what felt like 5:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning: “Forward-thinking Bluegrass Marketing—Coercing unsuspecting people into liking our music.”
One of the panelists suggested that we advocate for more bluegrass-related national and international day, week, and month designations. You know the kind I mean: people on social media are forever posting pictures commemorating National Sibling Day, Worldwide Crawdad Week, and Out-of-focus Photo Awareness Month. We can certainly find ways to use this promotional vehicle to advance our musical cause.
Looking just at October 13th we have the following commemorative observances (and I promise I didn’t make these up, though somebody obviously did):
- National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work/School Day
- National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day (I wonder who came up with that one)
- National Yorkshire Pudding Day
- National No Bra Day
And the list goes on, and this doesn’t even cover the various weeks and months. As you can see from the above, observing all of these in a single day would be exhausting, and in some cases awkward.
We do have a month designated as Worldwide Bluegrass Music Month, in case you haven’t heard of it. It used to be in May but may have moved to September, or possibly March. Clearly I’m staying right on top of this. If it’s in October, it has to compete with Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month (Starbucks sought a court injunction against that one), Church Safety and Security Month, and the always jolly Anti-depressant Death Awareness Month.
It’s time we look beyond our one month—whichever month it is—and designate a series of days, weeks, and months to causes related to our music. Here is a list of suggestions. Surely these are every bit as valid as National Deep Fried Clams Day (coming up on November 1st):
- National Instrument Strap-adjustment Day
- International Flat Baritone Part Day
- Dysfunctional Family Band Week
- National Fiddle-Tunes-Named-After-Rodents Month
- Worldwide Kiss the Dobro Player Day (this one was suggested by the International Dobro Players Guild—IDPG. They simultaneously advocated for National Kiss the Resonator Guitar Player Day, but we’re on to them now)
- James Monroe Awareness Month
- Unplanned-for and Hideously Expensive Diesel Engine Repair Month
- National Arrogant Bandleader Day
- Murder Ballad Victim Awareness Week
- Worldwide Buy a CD From a Hungry Bluegrass Artist Even Though You No Longer Have a Functioning CD Player Day (this should probably be an entire month, but the name should be shortened to the acronym “WWBACDFAHBAETYNLHAFCDP”)
- National Overly-Aggressive Song-pitching Week
- International Audio Engineer Relations Month
- Sketchy Artist Manager Day
- Red Smiley Advocacy Week
- National Fire the Bass Player Day
- Unconventional Tunings Day
- No Capo Day
- International Under 30-minute Sound Check Week
- Tremolo Appreciation Day (TAD)
- National Let Our Instrument On the #%##** Plane Already! Day
- Bill Monroe Imitation Day