"We've been coming since we were babies," Scott said. "Our parents used to come. I'm 23 now, and I was 1 year old the first time we came to Clifftop."
His brother added, "I don't think I've missed this more than three times my entire life."
People return again and again. For some, like John Field from The Villages in Florida, coming to the Appalachian String Band Festival is part of a circuit. He attends other similar festivals and so do many of his friends -- but not all of them.
"Some of the people I see here I only see here," he said.
It's a big reunion.
"And a chance for me to make some noise," Field added.
There's friendship at the festival and hospitality.
Jamie and Sandy Hart like to feed a crowd. In the middle of the day, Sandy was very leisurely straightening up while her husband and a few friends were playing in a circle.
Jamie, she said, handles most of the cooking (aided this year by a friend named Jared, who they met at the festival two years ago). The eats are better than average campsite fare: no pork and beans and no greasy hotdogs. Instead, they prefer barbecued pork ribs, fresh watermelon and maybe just a little bit of wine.
"We always eat good," Sandy said. "At least we do now."
She said her husband has been coming to the festival for about 20 years, but she's only been at it for 10.
"They used to live off tomato sandwiches for a week," she laughed.
There is a lot to see, Dixon said, and she explained that the best part of the festival for her is probably the part most people don't see.
"Around midnight or 1 a.m., there will be jams going on. You'll walk around and the camp will be lit by candles and lanterns. The music will just sweep over you, and then it will just change as you keep walking."
Spending a rainy night sleeping in her car to get to be part of that seemed like a pretty good trade to her.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.