Winfield, Kansas June 25, 2018
Officials at Walnut Valley Association have announced that the poster for this year’s Walnut Valley Festival will feature a landmark familiar to Winfield’s citizens, albeit one that is no longer in existence. The old West 14th Street bridge, which this year was demolished to make way for a new bridge spanning the Walnut River, is the focal point of the poster for the 47th Walnut Valley Festival.
The Festival, which will be held Sept. 12-16, 2018, draws a crowd of 10-15 thousand people to celebrate a blend of all kinds of acoustic music, including bluegrass, folk, Americana, a little bit of cowboy, some Celtic, blues, jazz and swing, and more.
The old bridge across the river on West 14th Street was used as a secondary entrance to grounds during festival, with a gate staffed by WVA crew located on the east side. Many festival-goers described their campsite location in reference to the bridge, and for quite a few patrons the bridge served as the gateway for their final departure from festival grounds.
For the nostalgic, the bridge lives still on Google Maps’ Street View. The application cuts between several different years, depending on which part of the fairgrounds one looks at, but all of the footage was obviously taken at or around festival time, with many campers caught in their daily routine by the roving Google recording vehicles. There, one can still meander across the old 14th Street Bridge, if only virtually.
Rex Flottman: “Through the years people crossed over the West 14th street bridge to discover an entirely new world – a world of music…music that was being performed, shared, taught and experienced for decades. Older ones passing tunes down to younger ones, and the young ones taking up the torch, adding their mark on the old songs and contributing new music from the perspective of young eyes. Long term relationships were formed, friends made, and students of the music found teachers. A community grew from the common love of making music under the trees and stars - around a campfire. Now the old iron bridge is gone, replaced by a new modern concrete bridge, not all that different from the ever-changing life we lead in the real world. I wonder what new music the next generation of travelers crossing over the bridge into our community will bring with them to share.” . . . . .