May 2011 - Volunteer Spotlight - David Versch
If you have ever camped during MerleFest, you have probably encountered David Versch, better known as Dancin’ Dave. He and his wife, Lynn, have attended the festival since 1995, and Dave has volunteered at RV Campground since 1999. He also can be found setting up tents that are ready for use by campers when they arrive at the MerleFest camping areas.
Dave and Lynn have four grown children and six grandchildren, all he describes as “cuter than cute.” When not attending festivals, he enjoys music and Nordic skiing. Dave had the idea for his festival camping service business while driving home from MerleFest in 1998. “I have had customers from MerleFest from many parts of the world and many parts of this country, and no person in any business could ask for a higher quality clientele!”
Dave shares a story of true friendship that began at MerleFest and has continued through the years:
I met a couple of friends early on in my business venture; David and Don are brothers who always camped next to or near my group at the River's Edge Campground during Merlefest. It was great to see them every year, and David wrote a couple of great reviews concerning "Dancin' Dave's..." for some chat groups.
When MerleFest started the assigned seating, David scored two beautiful seats, Row 10, seats 38 and 39. And for some reason, the folks in seats 36 and 37 never showed up. Because of this, Lynn and I many times sat in those seats, diggin' the music with David and Don. We wouldn't have wanted to share the music more with anyone.
Then one year David showed up at MerleFest much lighter than usual....he had lost many pounds because of the start of a battle with cancer. At this point he actually looked great! He was slim and looking healthy, but he was quick to point out why he had lost so many pounds so quickly. He seemed confident that he had been "cured."
Well, he wasn't....and for the next few years he was obviously becoming sicker but still seeing and hearing as much MerleFest music as he could handle. The last year that we saw him it was pretty clear that it was for the last time, but we all put up a good front. It was sad....
The next year Don showed up with a friend of his and the story of David's last days. David had a super sense of humor and was quick with the smile or the quips. He and Don shared this trait right to the end, and Don told how David would be doing the comforting and keeping everyone in good humor even as he was suffering.
He also told me that in one of David's last days, he instructed Don that if he ever could not make it to MerleFest that the tickets should go to Lynn and me.
For the last three or four years now, Lynn and I have enjoyed the music and those seats even more than usual, for we are doin' it for our friend...and he would be happy to know that we are doing so.
As you can tell, MerleFest is more than a music festival for David Versch. “If I hadn’t started attending MerleFest with my business in 1999, I would be attending anyway! I love this festival and the fact that “B” Townes and everyone else in the MerleFest organization have, since day one, treated me with a respect that I didn’t even have time to earn. It still thrills me.”