Here’s a game to try:
Think of bluegrass music. What comes to mind?
Is it the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies?
Reade Obern guesses that might be the case. But, he wants you to know, the genre is so much more than that.
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“There’s such a wide variety,” said Obern, who’s helping organize a bluegrass festival on June 10-12 at Sacajawea State Park southeast of Pasco.
“Bluegrass attracts such talented people” — musicians who know their instruments so well they can improvise on the fly, as the music moves them, he said.
“I consider bluegrass to be the jazz of country music,” Obern said. “These are some of the best musicians you’ll ever see.”
I consider bluegrass to be the jazz of country music. These are some of the best musicians you’ll ever see.
Reade Obern, organizer
The Sacajawea Bluegrass Festival and Dutch Oven Rendezvous draws musicians from around Washington and beyond.
This year’s headliners are the Henhouse Prowlers and The O’Connor Family Band.
The festival kicks off at 5 p.m. June 10. The Henhouse Prowlers, based in Chicago, headline that night.
The festival continues the next day, with activities from music workshops to a band scramble, in which musicians are randomly grouped into bands and then compete for prizes.
The O’Connor Family Band headlines that night. The acclaimed ensemble includes American music legend Mark O’Connor, and also features national flatpick guitar champion Joe Smart, who hails from the Tri-Cities.
The festival wraps up June 12 with a gospel sing-along and gospel music performed by the O’Connor family and other acts, including the local Badger Mountain Dry Band.
The Mid-Columbia Traditional Arts & Music Association puts on the festival, which is in its 13th year.
The event usually draws between 700 and 1,000 people.
It’s known for the picturesque setting and the quality of musicians who come to play.
The event usually draws from 700 and 1,000 people.
“We have a reputation for having a beautiful venue. And the quality of music — we only hire the very best bands. These aren’t bands that are still learning their craft, these are all accomplished musicians. Since a lot of people don’t know much about bluegrass music, we want to show the very best of it,” Obern said. “That’s been a point of pride.”
Tickets are $45 for the weekend at the gate, or $18 for June 10, $25 for June 11 and $15 for June 12.
A Discover Pass is needed for June 10 and 12; they’re available for purchase at the park. No Discover Pass is needed June 11.
For details on the festival, including the full schedule, go to www.mctama.org.
Sacajawea State Park is at 2503 Sacajawea Park Road.