Winfield, KS

Cultural Appropriation at the Walnut Valley Festival

ezra scribe

Here is why this is a good thing
Bing Futch with his Mountain Dulcimerphoto by james jordan

No one has more fun on stage than Bing Futch. He is a joy to watch. He is a fine musician, but what makes it even more enjoyable is the energy and enthusiasm that he exudes in his performance. You might enjoy his show, but you won't enjoy it as much as he will enjoy performing it. He will be one of the featured performers at the 50th Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield the third weekend of September.

He is also a great example of cultural appropriation and is why I think it is a good thing.

He is a black guy, and his long hair is done in dreadlocks. He looks more Caribbean than anything, but he lives in Orlando, near Disneyworld. He plays bluegrass but ends his show by having the crowd join him in the Disney theme song.


You will not put Bing Futch into any kind of box and keep him there for very long.

What makes him unique is that he plays bluegrass music with a Mountain Dulcimer. The mountain dulcimer is a stringed instrument that was developed by hillbillies in the mountains of Appalachia, which conveniently is where bluegrass came from as well.

The Mountain Dulcimer is as essential to bluegrass music as the guitar is to blues or rock and roll.

This is the equivalent of white guys playing delta blues with their guitars. Or maybe some white guys banging out some rap music.

The thing is, music does not belong to any one culture or group of people. Music is art. Music is a great way of bringing people together. I don't know why anyone would complain about that or why anyone should complain about white people taking up blues, jazz, or even rap music. All music is music.

Instead of complaining about cultural appropriation, we should celebrate people who step over artificial lines.

For whatever reason, Bing Futch became interested in the Mountain Dulcimer and became very good at playing it.

He will be one of the featured performers at the Walnut Valley Music Festival in a couple of weeks near where I live. It is the biggest event of the year for me. The festival starts on Sept. 15, but people are already camping out and playing music. I'll be joining them this weekend.

Looking forward to Bing Futch and all the others. It is called a bluegrass festival, but it is bluer than grass these days. There will be all kinds of music, and a lot of artificial barriers fall to the wayside when the music is rolling.

There are all sorts of barriers falling by the wayside. Classically trained violinists will be cranking out rock and roll tunes on their fiddles. This is what art and music are supposed to be about.

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Writing and living in Kansas. Retired journalist. Writing about local things, but not much about politics.

Arkansas City, KS

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