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Kings River Bluegrass Festival in Sanger
If you happen to be in the Fresno area this September, and your ears start to ring with the clear melody of a high, lonesome voice and the accompanying strains of a fiddle and mandolin, chances are, you’re walking through a crowd of pickers in town for the California Bluegrass Association’s 2011 Kings River Bluegrass Festival. Held at the beautiful Grove in Sanger, September 23-25, this year’s festival is sure to have the crowd tapping their toes and singing along with twelve dynamic bluegrass artists from around California.
The Kings River Bluegrass Festival (formerly known as Hobbs Grove) occurs every September. This year, festival coordinators, Marcos Alvira and Kelly Broyles, have stuffed each of the three days with a broad range of acts that cover the high-lonesome sound of traditional bluegrass, the hard driving guitar of progressive bluegrass, and the foot-stomping rhythms of old-time folk. The line-up will consist of Bay Area favorite Evie Ladin; festival regulars Red Dog Ash; and a special performance by Kids on Bluegrass, the CBA’s youth enrichment program.
“What stands out is the backyard feel of the entire festival,” remarks Alvira. “Performers, fans, and pickers easily mingle in our grassy, tree-lined campground, right outside the performance area.”
As is typical of any bluegrass festival, or other CBA-sponsored function, the Kings River Bluegrass Festival will also facilitate the musical inclinations of the many instrumentalists and singers not playing onstage. Attendees with an interest in playing bluegrass music may join in one of the countless jam sessions peppered throughout the campground. “Small-scale bluegrass jams are the heart of any bluegrass festival, and ours is no different,” reflects Alvira. “They offer folks at all skill and experience levels a chance to get out and pick with fellow musicians, and they nurture the CBA’s tight-knit community. Eventually, everyone gets to know everyone.”
The festival will feature several food vendors to keep spectators’ blood sugar levels in check while they enjoy the music. Concessions will incorporate a diverse mix of foods, including kettle corn, Mexican food, and barbecue. Festivalgoers may also visit the booths of several local artists and craftspeople selling their wares amid the rest of the activity.
This year’s bluegrass festival will offer several musical workshops, including a vocal harmony clinic with featured performer Evie Ladin, and a guitar picking class instructed by the extraordinarily gifted young guitarist, Paige Anderson. The California Bluegrass Association will also conduct an instrument raffle to benefit Kids on Bluegrass.
One- and three-day tickets are available for purchase online. Prices for one-day tickets range from $20-$30, and three-day passes cost $50-$60. Those attending the 2011 Kings River Bluegrass festival may also set up their tents or RVs and camp overnight. RV hookups are available.
For more information about the California Bluegrass Association’s 2011 Kings River Bluegrass Festival, visit www.cbaontheweb.org.