Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wenatchee River Bluegrass Festival set to delight music fans

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CASHMERE – The Wenatchee River Bluegrass Festival 2024 will kick off next weekend at the Chelan County Expo Center.

The festival's executive director, Marie Vecchio, said the schedule will be similar to previous years, but this year will feature three Northwest bands as well as award-winning bands from back east.

The Northwest bands are Friends of Larry, Slipshod, and Heartbreak Pass. Vecchio said they are well-loved Washington state bands that they have featured in the past.

Bands coming from outside of Washington are Carley Arrowood, Seth Mulder, Midnight Run, and Appalachian Roadshow.

"All of these bands, Carley Arrowood, Seth Mulder and Midnight Run, Appalachian Roadshow, all these are people that you hear on Sirius music if you listen to Bluegrass Junction," Vecchio said.

"Carly is a newcomer, as far as she's been performing for a few years now," Vecchio said. "Her band is tight. She's an amazing fiddle player. And she has amazing vocals. So that band is fun to watch."

"Seth Mulder, I've never seen him in person, but I hear him all the time on Sirius music on Bluegrass Junction, and they're more of a traditional hard-driving bluegrass band," she said. "So you're gonna get some great entertainment out of them."

"Appalachian Roadshow, my all-time favorite, just for their stage presence," she said. "Their representation of Appalachian music, we're talking traditional bluegrass that just grabs your heart, it is so sincere. 

"Each one of those performers are talent, from they're Grammy Award winners, they are IBMA award winners. IBMA is the International Bluegrass Music Association," she said. "So we're talking tons of talent on this stage at one time, and they're just so sincere. 

"We had them back in 2022, and the crowd loved them and we're so honored to have them return," she said. "They loved our crowds. They love the Northwest. So they were excited when we asked them back." 

The campground opens on Monday, June 10, at noon. The festival will kick off with a jam session on Thursday, June 13, at 2:15 on the Back Porch Stage, followed by a Meet and Greet Luau and Potluck at 5 p.m. at the campground picnic shelter.

Friday, June 14, Saturday, June 15 and Sunday the 16th each have a full schedule of performances.

There will be food vendors, kettle corn, roasted nuts, and merchandise. The event is alcohol-free.

Tickets are $45 for the weekend or $35 for the day. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit WenatcheeRiverBluegrassFestival.com.

"I encourage people, even if they're local, to come and camp; it is music," she said. "About 90% of those people out there are musicians, so their wristbands will get them into the campground, and they can see extra entertainment out there and people will start rolling in on Monday. Things get to hopin' pretty good through evening Wednesday. And then from there, it's just an amazing wave of music you can hear. It's perfect. 

She said that throughout the campground, groups will camp next to each other, form a common circle, and gather to play music. 

"Come nighttime, it's magic," she said. "You walk through there, and there is so much music coming from everybody's camps. It is amazing, really. "

On Saturday there will be Taylor's Camp, which is a workshop for youth to learn to play bluegrass music. At the end of the workshop, the children will perform on stage. 

There are also instrument workshops for adults to learn more about playing traditional bluegrass instruments.

The festival started in 2003 and has continued to grow.

"We started with as far as our bands go, we were excited to get some Washington bands," Vecchio said. "That was a big highlight for us. And every year, we keep getting a little bit bigger and a little bit bigger, and we have gotten to the status of where we're able to hire award-winning bands from back east or wherever. And it's very exciting that we got to this point." 

"We offer good family fun, decent price, and that's what kept us going is just everybody believing in what we do," she said.

Quinn Propst: 509-731-3590 or quinn@ward.media.

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