Bean Blossom by Thomas A. Adler: a review

An absolutely delightful book. Tells the history of the Bean Blossom park well, with many interesting anecdotes. Adler makes the strengths and weaknesses of the successive owners and managers clear. The book necessarily has an emphasis on the Monroe family, since they owned the park for most of its existence, but the book’s about the park and the festivals rather than Bill, Birch, and James.

The owners, of course, are not the only characters. The book contains sketches of many musicians and bands, and the occasional fan. While most of these are fairly perfunctory, they seem reasonably accurate for the players and groups I’m familiar with.

But the best parts are the author’s explorations and explications of the temporary, recurring communities that are annually (re)built at bluegrass festivals. He captures the culture well.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and can heartily recommend it.

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