Originally Published: June 25, 2006 4 a.m.
Charlie Gates of Rutland, Vt., is to bluegrass festivals what "Deadheads" were to the Grateful Dead. Gates, a retired state highway worker who attended the 25th annual Prescott Bluegrass Festival Saturday, travels from festival to festival to take in a music genre that he has enjoyed since he was 20.
"I have been to hundreds (of festivals) in the last four or five years," Gates said. "I listen to country, I listen to jazz. I listen to classical."
"I don't know if it is the old pineyness, the instruments. I much prefer this to anything else," Gates said.
As Gates listened to bluegrass bands that played at a bandstand at the Yavapai County Courthouse plaza, he perused a schedule of upcoming festivals: in Flagstaff in September and in St. George, Utah, Logandale, Nev., and Tucson in October.