Fletcher Bright’s Gift To Chattanooga

Monday, October 8, 2018

First, I want to offer my condolences to anyone unable to attend last weekend’s 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival at Ross’s Landing. The 12th edition of this free gift to the people of Chattanooga was about as good as can be. 

The 3 Sisters grew out of the generosity and talent of Fletcher Bright, his son George, and all of their kith and kin, who honored Fletcher this year with a big banner behind the stage. Its presence constantly reminded us of the man who added so much to so many lives, including mine.

The last act of the show, Noam Pikelny, even told the story of how Fletcher was his original inspiration to take up bluegrass music, at the age of 11. It was a moving moment.

On the day Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in after a huge partisan spectacle, everyone on Ross’s Landing was happy and well-behaved and just having a great time, because they were there to celebrate what they had in common: a love for bluegrass music and a beautiful public space on a beautiful day. They talked about the music they loved, not the things they about which they disagreed.

Hopefully more events like this can restore some civility to our national discourse. We have much more in common than we sometimes want to believe. The more we enjoy that which we enjoy together, the more able we will be to move beyond the current divisions.

So in the words of Fletcher’s friend Frank McDonald, a mighty big thank you to each and every one of you who played a role in giving the 3 Sisters to Chattanooga. I feel better now.

Doug Stein

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