Submitted by Bruce Campbell
The California Bluegrass Association presents its 42nd Annual Fathers’ Day Festival June 15-18 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.
As in years past, this year’s event features a lineup of top touring bluegrass bands and five of California’s best bluegrass and old-time music groups. The festival offers four days of entertainment on three stages plus nonstop jam sessions by music-playing fans on the camping areas.
Among the major bands that will be appearing are: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press, Molsky’s Mountain Drifters, Tony Trischka Territory, Becky Buller Band, Mipso, Piedmont Melody Makers, Sawmill Road, The Freight Hoppers, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Barefoot Movement, and The Blue Js.
Five West Coast bands will appear on the main stage this year as the California Showcase. These bands are: Crooked Jades, The Brombies, David Thom, Burning Heart Bluegrass, and Matt and George and their Pleasant Valley Boys.
Each year the fairgrounds at Grass Valley begins filling up with tents and RVs on the Sunday before the festival begins. Many are there for a three-day music instructional camp that runs through Wednesday, but most just arrive early to play music, hand out with old friends and meet new ones.
Tents dominate the camping grounds under the pines and RVs and campers create an aluminum and steel village around the rest of the grounds. Dozens of volunteers spend the week prior to the festival erecting the big main stage and preparing the two smaller stages.
On Wednesday, the festival’s vendors arrive, setting up booths in the food area to offer coffee, sausages, Asian food, vegetarian fare, Mexican food, crepes, and very popular snow cones and ice cream. There are also booths with vendors of hats, apparel, jewelry, crafts and musical instruments and supplies.
Inside of the fairground buildings is a luthiers’ pavilion, where they display beautiful handmade guitars, banjos, mandolins, fiddles, and basses. They also offer instrument setup and repair services.
The California Bluegrass Association Father’s Day Festival is a family friendly event. For children learning to play an instrument, the “Kids on Bluegrass” program works up songs beginning on Thursday and performs on the main stage Friday and Saturday – a big thrill for the kids and the audience.
For more information or tickets, please see www.fathersdayfestival.com.