We all know about the winter blues, but here’s a different kind of blues that will lift your spirits and make you want to dance.
The first weekend in March brings the Winter Bluegrass Weekend to Plymouth.
The festival is organized by the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association. A weekend-long event, it’s designed wth both seasoned musicians and those new to bluegrass and old-time in mind. (Old-time music is also known as mountain-type folk music, including the music associated with Appalachia.)
“We have quite a few attendees who don’t play an instrument," says Darcy Schatz, the association’s office manager. “We have people who enjoy bluegrass and those who are curious about it.” Bluegrass and old-time music mostly consist of string instruments, says Schatz, “like mandolin, banjo, bass and fiddle. People can try these instruments out and even join a jam session.”
“There are two stages with concerts going from 10 in the morning until past midnight,” says Schatz, “and other events, too, including a Saturday night dance.” The festival also includes a headliner concert by a nationally or internationally-known artist, says Schatz.
The association has a strong commitment to young musicians, says Schatz, and to support their connection to bluegrass, they run the Grass Seeds Academy, a three-day music camp for musicians ages 8 to 18. “They learn things like jamming etiquette and how to play in an ensemble,” says Schatz. “They do a concert and have professional musicians join them. It’s one of the highlights of the weekend.”
“This is the organization’s largest indoor event. It’s a terrific weekend,” says Schatz.
Joe Fishbein, a mandolin player and regular attendee of the festival says, “I’m part of the 'old-time faction,' which makes up about 10 percent of the festival. We have our niche away from the bluegrassers.”
Fishbein says, “Even though I live locally, I get a room at the hotel so I don’t have to drive home after jamming until 2 a.m.!”
Whether you’re a musician, a bluegrass or old-time fan, or you just want to enjoy a weekend filled with music and dance, the festival is a great way to spend a winter weekend.
March 1-3. Times Vary.
Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West
3131 Campus Drive, Plymouth