Stompin 99 was supposed to be the bluegrass festival to end all bluegrass festivals.  It was held in Buffalo Gap, West Virginia.  They booked all kinds of bluegrass and old timey acts to perform.  You could buy a 4 day pass and camp out on the mountain.



The concept was certainly there.  It ended up being less smooth than that.  Getting there was fine and the mountain was gorgeous.  Pitching a tent proved difficult.  The ground was uneven.  There were rocks sticking out of the grounds.  There were holes and soft ground all over the place.  Sleeping was no picnic.  I remember waking up throughout the nights with my back in all kinds of contorted positions.  I think there are prisons in third world countries that offer more comfortable sleeping accommodations.


It was still fun and most of the people were pretty cool.  The music was lively and everyone seemed to be having fun.  I was sitting around a fire with a few friends drinking beer.


We hear someone yelling for “Brett.”  “Brett, where are you?”  We can’t determine if he’s looking for a friend or a dog.  He wanders into our campsite.  First he wonders if one of us is actually Brett.  Then he wants to know if we’ve seen Brett.  No dice on Brett but I do offer him a beer he likely doesn’t need.


An incoherent conversation ensues.  He seems to be a bit of a rube—but he knows it.  He informs us that he is from Elkins Hole, WV.


“Elkins Fuckin’ Shithole, West Virginia!” he states.  This gets repeated several times by him.


Now I’ve never been to Elkins Hole, WV but I can’t imagine it’s that bad.  It’s probably a nice town with mostly nice people.  It may not be all that exciting but then few places are Rio or Maui.


He disappears for awhile but we still hear him calling for Brett.  He returns to our camp still complaining about “Elkins Fucking Shithole, WV.  He’s amusing but it’s getting old.


I wasn’t all that anxious to sleep on that ground again so I was willing to listen.  I was hoping to pass out on the chair.  Brett’s friend (I never did get his name) eventually disappeared and I endured a rough couple hours sleep.


The festival continued although the music was canceled early Sunday and many vendors started packing up early.  Apparently the promoters skipped town without paying all the musicians or vendors.  It was really insane.  We were offered to stay there until morning although sleeping on the ground again was not all that desirable an option.


Packing up and heading home seemed like the logical thing to do.  I never did find out if Brett was ever found by his inebriated friend.




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