For the second year in a row, the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival will be held at the San Benito County Historical Park in Tres Pinos.
Starting Thursday, top California bluegrass bands will descend on the beautiful venue, giving attendees an opportunity to jam with their favorite musicians.
“This festival is oriented towards camping and playing your own music,” said Michael Hall, president of the Northern California Bluegrass Society, which hosts the 24th annual event. “It is very informal. At night, groups will play in the campground.”
This year, 50 bands will perform on four different stages. On Saturday, the Honeysuckle Possums from Santa Barbara will inaugurate the late night stage at the dance hall. While 35 Years Of Trouble, a band named after the combined ages of its youth-filled roster, will kick-off the morning performances earlier that day.
“The bands are all based in California,” said Hall. “At other festivals you’ll get very exciting bands from outside the state, but once they play they get back on their busses and they are off to the next show. They are not hanging around.”
This is not true for the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival.
“About 60 percent of the people who come play an instrument,” said Hall. “People show up partly to see and learn from other bands. In the evenings people will take out their own instruments and jam in various camp sites. Sometimes you will see about 50 different jam circles going on all over the place with musicians going from one circle to another. It’s a very social kind of music.”
The four-day event will also feature workshops, a kids performance on Sunday and children’s activities.