When the pioneers entered the land we now call Idaho, they weren't sporting earbuds and making iPod playlists. Musical entertainment came from those who carried simple instruments like pocket harps and harmonicas. The 24th annual Yellow Pine Music and Harmonica Festival honors the tradition of those early settlers each year by bringing some solidly folky tunes to Central Idaho.
From Friday, Aug. 2-Sunday Aug. 4, the hills will ring with traditional music, and spectators can try to impress the crowds at the harmonica open mic Friday and Saturday nights. Of course, they can always just sit back and listen to professionals play in the solo performances.
Want to get more harmonica-proficient? Learn valuable techniques at Harmonica Bob's Performance Skills Workshop on Saturday, when professional harmonica player Bob Jackson Miner teaches playing etiquette to help you jam with the best and overcome that stage fright. Tickets for the workshop cost $10.
Visit the Museum of Harmonica Wonderment to learn all about the history of the mouth harp and see musicians, past and present, who have shaped the use of the instrument. If all this harmonica talk whets your appetite, grab a New Orlean's-style sandwich from Po' Bois and a cold draft from TableRock Brewpub and Grill. For those satisfied by a stogie, Back Country Outfitters will have a selection of cigars available, because nothing goes with a harmonica like a cigar--we'd just like to see them used at the same time.