BGCS Newsletter Vol. III #4, July 17, 2020
All Things Bluegrass Country Soul -
Past, Present and Future!
We hope that this newsletter finds you and yours safe and well during these trying times and enjoying lots of beautiful bluegrass music.
In this issue, we premiere a new feature with Albert, answering the most frequently asked questions we've received about Bluegrass Country Soul over the years. We compare the 2006 DVD to the 2019 restoration, and are thrilled to announce the expansion of box set sales with the addition of our first-ever European distributor!

In upcoming newsletters, you’ll see video interviews with bluegrass artists who are featured in the movie, find articles about the people behind the scenes who helped to make this project possible, and read some of the box set reviews.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments.


Albert Ihde and Ellen Pasternack
Producer/Director and Executive Director
Bluegrass Country Soul
in The Bluegrass Situation
A big “Thank You” to Daniel Mullins and The Bluegrass Situation for their recent article about the film and multi-media box set. They called Bluegrass Country Soul “… THE most iconic bluegrass documentary in existence …” How about that for a low-budget, independent movie?

The Shorthairs and the Longhairs:
The Story Behind "Bluegrass Country Soul"

Jul 15, 2020
If Bluegrass Country Soul isn't THE most iconic bluegrass documentary in existence, it's close.
Bluegrass Country Soul captures one of Carlton Haney’s legendary festivals in Camp Springs, North Carolina, on Labor Day weekend of 1971. It is credited as the first bluegrass documentary, and is essential viewing for both lifelong bluegrass fans and those new to the genre.

This classic film features bluegrass music’s pioneers, as well as those who would take the music into the future. Many of the festival’s legendary moments are preserved in color for posterity… read more.
Box Set Sales Begin in Europe!
We are thrilled to announce that Bear Family Records is distributing the box set throughout Europe, for bluegrass music fans across the pond who require the DVD in PAL format. Here’s a link to their website listing . This is the first time that Bluegrass Country Soul has been sold in Europe!
We’ve mentioned last month that B.O.M. Services, Ltd. is distributing our Golden Anniversary box set in Japan. They also produce “Moonshiner” magazine (B.O.M. stands for "Bluegrass and Old Time Music") and devoted their July cover to Bluegrass Country Soul – The Legendary Festival. Inside, they include a complete transcript of Fred Bartenstein’s new commentary track, translated into Japanese! Thank you, Toshio and crew!
FAQ With Albert
Q: Are there outtakes or additional footage from the 1971 Labor Day festival?
A: Unfortunately, no additional footage exists. When we made Bluegrass Country Soul , we had a very low budget. Back in the early 1970s, the cost of raw film stock, processing, work-printing, negative editing, etc. all added up to the largest part of our expenses. Today, thanks to the invention of digital video, all of these costs are no longer part of a production budget.We were forced to select the number of songs to shoot very carefully. We had two cameras shooting each song so that we had choices for editing, but this also meant that half of the footage was not seen in the final film. The unused footage was lost by the lab decades ago. Everyone involved in the film wishes we had had enough film available to shoot more of the festival, but that just wasn’t possible at the time.
Jimmy Martin and The Sunny Mountain Boys in the 2019 restoration.
Jimmy Martin and The Sunny Mountain Boys in the 2006 Time Life DVD.
Q: What are the differences between the 2006 Time Life DVD and the 2019 restoration?
A: Many things are new in the 2019 restoration. I’ll point out a few here. There has been enormous progress in digital film restoration since 2006, when Bluegrass Country Soul was first digitized. Each frame of our 35 mm print was scanned at 4K for the 2019 version, which means that there are 4,000 pixels horizontally per frame. Our current combo pack has both a Blu-ray and standard DVD. Even if you do not own a Blu-ray player and a high-definition screen, you will still see vast improvements in both the picture and sound quality on the standard DVD.
Above, on the left, is a frame from the film showing Jimmy Martin and The Sunny Mountain Boys across the stage in Camp Springs in the 2019 version. Chubby Wise is on the left and Gloria Belle on the right. Not only is the sharpness substantially better than the picture from the 2006 version on the right, but so is the color, and the frame is wider.

The new version has surround sound, which has allowed us to add the sound of rain falling, and more distant thunder during the “Listening to the Rain” sequence with The Osborne Brothers.
Folks who are familiar with the old DVD say that they notice many things in the new restoration for the first time, such as license plate numbers, and other small details. Ellen recognized Sam Bush off in the distance in a long shot, and noticed it was Ricky Skaggs peeking through the stage curtain when The Bluegrass Alliance is performing.
Additional changes to the movie include identifying bluegrass artists with “lower third IDs” throughout the film, and increasing the total number of performers listed in the end credits. And then there are the numerous “Special Features,” none of which were on the Time Life DVD.

PS. We'll feature more detail about the improvements to the new version in future newsletters, and we'd love to hear what new details you've noticed.
Were You There?
Often, we hear from folks who were at this legendary festival. If you have a story you’d like to share, or a photo, we’d love to hear from you and include you on our website or in one of our newsletters.
Please pass along our web address to everyone you know who loves bluegrass music:
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