By Staff
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Musical entertainment at the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Assn. show in Portland, Ind., last August.
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A new kind of show tune

If you recall my account of attending the Tri-State Gas Engine
and Tractor Assn. show in Portland, Ind., last August, I mentioned
feeling overwhelmed by the entire situation. Everywhere I looked,
there were gas engines and tractors, all of which were, at the
time, completely foreign to me.

But as I walked around the massive grounds, something familiar
caught my ear. It was a guy playing harmonica, a woman on piano and
another guy on acoustic guitar playing old folk songs. Being a fan
and player of old folk songs myself, the music sucked me in. I went
over and watched for a while and noticed that the trio had
attracted a decent crowd that came and went throughout the course
of the day. I would hardly call covering gas engine shows “work,”
but you do get tired walking around in the heat, and it was nice to
take a load off while listening to some great music.

Anyhow, the trio could only play so long, and by late afternoon,
they had packed up. I was disappointed that there didn’t seem to be
any more musical entertainment scheduled for the rest of the

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks there’s an
opportunity for more music. Reader William H. Meade from Mission,
Texas recently sent us a letter outlining his idea for acoustic
musicians getting together to “jam” at engine and tractor shows.
William writes:

“At the show site, jammers will get together wherever it is
shady, not windy, and where there is room for spectators. There may
be a half dozen to a dozen musicians in a circle and twice that or
more outside the circle in chairs. Jammers could be here and there
and all over the place, even in the parking areas when the sun goes
down and where the music may last until midnight or beyond. The
music has to be acoustic and electric.”

William believes an organized approach to advertising “jammer
friendly” engine and tractor shows would attract some fine
travelling musicians. And I’m a firm believer that among
collectors, there are surely some folks who know their way around a
guitar, banjo or harmonica. It’s just a matter of getting the word
out to tell them to bring their instruments as well as their

Overall, I think this is a great way for clubs and show
promoters to draw more people to their events and I’m hoping it
catches on. I think I’ll bring my guitar with me when I can, just
in case.

Christian Williams
Assistant Editor

Gas Engine Magazine
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