FESTIVAL #1: March 4,5, 1977
THE AUBURNDALE STAR - March 9, 1977
Over 3,500 Jam City For Weekend
No Incidents Mar First Bluegrass
Approximately 4000 persons came to downtown Auburndale for the Auburndale Fiddler's and Bluegrass Jamboree in the City Park this Past weekend.
All involved – organizers, participants, spectators, and City Officials – termed it an unqualified success.
"I saw local people in downtown Auburndale I hadn't seen in four years." said realtor-merchant Frances Hancock, secretary of the Jamboree committee. "It drew people to downtown like nothing we have ever done."
The presence of nearly 2000 spectators at Friday night's portion of the contest and nearly 3,500 Saturday night – despite a light rain early in the evening – was, a satisfying answer to local skeptics who had predicted crowds As low as 250.
Furthermore, concerns expressed by many over the safety and security measures being taken also proved to be groundless.
"We didn't have one single incident," said Allen Hobbs, Chief of Police, Saturday night, "Not one complaint of any kind – not even a traffic ticket related to these folks – they're a real orderly bunch."
Orderly they may have been, but they had lots of fun.
Competition began early Friday afternoon and continued on until nearly 11 p.m. and while musicians were performing on the stage facing a closed-off East Lake Avenue, others were assembled in informal groups about the park entertaining themselves in impromptu jam sessions. The jam sessions lasted until dawn.
Many of those who could not stay awake retired to their campers or tents pitched on the park lawn.
Although the City Commission had set a policy that only those persons with concession stands or other property to protect would be allowed to camp overnight in the park, the policy was treated with benign neglect.
"These people aren't hurting anything and there's lots of room and I can't see any sense in making 'em move on," said an Auburndale police officer who asked not to be identified.
Saturday was a repeat of the day before, except the attendance was greater.
At the peak of the contest -- shortly before the winners were announced at 10 p.m., veteran crowd estimators put the number of spectators at 3,000 to 4,000 - plus another 500 to 1,000 milling around the park in jam sessions.
Most downtown merchants reported an increase in business although a few in the service areas complained that regular customers could not reach them because of the blocked off streets.
Hobbs attributed much of the efficiency of crowd and traffic control to careful (if late-in-the-game) planning and to the cooperation of the Auburndale CBers.
The local CB club set up a "Jamboree Control Command Post" at police headquarters and posted signs throughout the town that jamboree information was available on Channel 19. As of 4 p.m Friday, the volunteers had handled "a couple dozen" requests for directions.
The evening came to a perfect close, however, when the grand prize winner turned out to be a band with a local flavor. The Bluegrass Pioneers of Tampa, which features the guitar picking of Auburndale's J.C. Moses, picked up $50, a trophy, and one hour's worth of recording studio time, donated by Central Sound Studio of Auburndale: The studio promised that band a professionally recorded and mixed eight-track tape, "all ready to cut a 45 rpm record."
A complete list of the winners in each division:
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