Rapidgrass, Songs of the Fall headline music festival
Bluegrass on the Arkansas, a two-day music festival presented by Salida Rotary Club, falls on Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28, featuring live music, entertainment, food and more. Held in Riverside Park in Salida, the festival welcomes bluegrass bands from Colorado and California to entertain and delight on both days.
The music festival is free, but donations are highly encouraged to support the Rotary Club’s scholarship fund.
On both days, the Salida Circus will kick off the festivities with acrobats, jugglers, trapeze artists, unicyclists and stilt-walkers at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Salida Circus offers high-quality fun for all ages.
The musical lineup begins Saturday at 6 p.m. with BAM, the Collegiate Rok Skool band comprised of Salida High School students Brooke Beasley, Alan Mueller and Mitchell Tanner. This talented young group plays multiple instruments and performs covers plus a few originals.
With a new album release earlier this year, Pint & a Half has been busy touring Colorado and New Mexico. The Salida-based duo of Tami and Duke Shepard will begin playing orig- inal melodic tunes with the biggest smiles at 7 p.m.
At 8 p.m. Songs of the Fall will take the stage to close out the evening. The Americana duo from Pagosa Springs includes Cia Cherryholmes, a five-time Grammy nominee who plays banjo, and guitarist Stetson Adkisson. Their music is a blend of Celtic, delta blues and bluegrass.
On Sunday immediately following the second Salida Circus performance, Alan and Martin will go onstage at 12:45 p.m. to present country western music. Alan Purcell and Martin Epp, another Salida songwriting duo, are joined by Bruce Hayes and George Mossman, who fill out the group on guitar and drums, respectively.
At 2:30 p.m., Sweetwater String Band, a cello-driven “soulgrass” group from California, will perform. The band includes Scott Roberts, mandolin; David Huebner, cello; Jeff Meadway, guitar; and Patrick Ferguson, bass. Their music often deals with serious issues such as mountaintop-removal coal mining and workers’ rights. The band balances its serious songs with ghost stories and drinking songs.
At 4:15 p.m. Steel Pennies, a five-piece bluegrass band, will present a “rousing mix” of original and traditional tunes (and maybe some honky-tonk). Steel Pennies is comprised of David Okay Patton, banjo and vocals; Kathy Foster-Patton, upright bass; Annie Savage, fiddle and vocals; and Kathy Drazsnzak and Kevin Slick on guitar and vocals.
Heidi Clare and Ron Thomason will perform old time music, bluegrass and classic country starting at 5:45 p.m. Clare and Thomason live in Cotopaxi and are avid horse trainers and competitors. Thomason plays the mandolin,guitar and banjo. Clare plays the fiddle.
Closing out the weekend’s music will be Rapidgrass beginning at 7:15 p.m. Hailing from the Front Range, Rapidgrass plays original acoustic bluegrass influenced by a love of the outdoors. The band features four regular members and two “adjuncts.”All sing and play instruments. Mark Morris, a professional skier, plays the guitar; Coleman Smith, violin and mandolin; Carl Minorkey, upright bass and tenor banjo; and Alex Johnstone, mandolin and fiddle. Adjunct members include Billy Cardine, dobro, and the group’s recording producer; and Kyle Hauser, banjo.
Throughout the festival, Salida Rotary Club will be selling food, soda, beer and wine to raise scholarship funds. Also, a variety of carnival games such as the ring toss will be set up in the park.
Music schedule @ a glance
Saturday, May 27
6-6:45 p.m. BAM
7-7:45 p.m. Pint and a Half
8-9:45 p.m. Songs of the Fall
Sunday, May 28
12:45-2:15 p.m. Alan and Martin
2:30-4 p.m. Sweetwater String Band
4:15-5:30 p.m. Steel Pennies
5:45-7 p.m. Heidi Clare and Ron Thomason
7:15-9 p.m. Rapidgrass