Rain failed to foil Brass Band fun

Published 8:19 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

Rain can ruin a lot of outdoor events, but the Great American Brass Band Festival isn’t one of them.

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This year proves it takes more than a downpour or six to stifle the rich, musical tones of Boyle County’s brass-band weekend. More than 3.5 inches of rain fell during the four days of the festival.

For other festivals in other places, that forecast might spell doom. For the Brass Band Festival, which has now completed its third decade in downtown Danville, it was a drop in the bucket.

Sure, there were no hot-air balloons. But there was a parade, a N’awlins party, a quilt show, a swing dance, a picnic, street food, kids’ games, big-wheel bicycles, a church service … and more trumpets, trombones, tubas, french horns and flugelhorns than you could shake a stick at — without, at least, several extra shakes of the stick.

You might think to have a cajun street party, you would need a street. But when storms soaked Danville on Friday, organizers figured out a way to scrap the street entirely and moved Bayou and Brass inside the city parking garage. And boy, that place was packed.

There was relatively little lounging in lawn chairs this time around; instead, lovers of brass music packed the orchestra pit at the Norton Center and the dining hall at Centre College.

Credit here can’t go just to the festival organizers, though without them none of it would have been possible. Credit must also be given to the fans — the throngs of dedicated Brass Band Festival attendees who show up every year rain or shine. With storm clouds throwing shade, it would have been easy to shrug it off and head home — or just stay home and skip a year. It’s happened before to other festivals in other places.

That didn’t happen. Attendance was certainly less, but nowhere near as small as you might expect given how well-known the forecast was in advance.

This is all proof that we have something special in the Great American Brass Band Festival. We already knew that, of course, because it’s rained before and the same thing has happened. But it’s a good reminder for those who are new or those who might have grown a little jaded over the years: In Danville, you can rain on our parade if you want; just know it won’t stop us from having fun.