One of my favorite ways to deal with stress; heck, to deal with life in general, is to play music. And some of my most cherished memories involve playing music. My guitar collection has grown through the years, closely followed by my amp collection. I’ve even built some amps of my own: Fender tweeds, Marshall 18-watt clones, even a JTM45 (and it was frickin’ loud!!!). It’s time to feed the need: I am going to the Arlington Guitar Show this weekend!
The fall show, as some of us call it, is one of the best. It’s only two days (three if you count vendor setup day on Friday), but it’s all about trading, buying, and selling. The spring show includes a music festival with an outdoor stage or two, but that just means that the serious traders are having to step around the touristas who are just there to watch bands and drink beer. Each show includes it’s share of folks toting around guitars, pushing carts with guitars and gear, and dudes (and dudettes!) trying to trade up with something interesting. There is often even a night of live auctions with rare and collectible instruments you will never, ever see again.
I’ll be driving out on Friday morning with “Doug the bass player”, one day behind my buddy and his helper with the music store who rents a booth at the fall and spring show. We will start setting up by 1 PM, loading out the tables, amps, carts, and goodies we will spend the rest of the weekend trying to sell. But the real feature for us is getting to see all of gear that folks are schlepping around. I’ve bought at least three Taylor acoustics “to keep” at these shows, and somehow seem to trade up by the next show. It’s a great way to see stuff you never get to see in my hometown: the limited edition Paul Reed Smiths, the Warriors, and boutique amps you can only read about: this show has it all.
One of my favorite activities is the people watching. Do you remember those TV shows from the 70’s with the hippies with wild hair and wilder clothes? Do you ever wonder what happened to them? I know: they all own music stores! One booth-dweller comes every year in a bright yellow Nissan SUV that has a strange-looking PVC pipe “periscope” on top: he calls it “The Yellow Submarine”! Other booth owners come wearing the duds they used to gig in… trust me, seeing a 50 year old man with a mullet and striped pants is just bizarre! One word of warning: a 50 or 60 year old woman should NOT wear a tube top! Yes, really.
By the end of the weekend we will be tired, toting our new guitars and/or amps around, and hungry. I can hardly wait!!!