Originally Published: June 18, 2015 6 a.m.
PRESCOTT - There's no jam session quite like a bluegrass jam session, especially when it's part of a festival. And next weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 27-28, the 34th Annual Prescott Bluegrass festival will fill the air with banjos and mandolins.
Scott Currey, the special events coordinator for the Prescott Chamber of Commerce said that the festival originally started as a fiddle contest in the gazebo on the square. These days though, he said it has grown to be "the only free bluegrass festival of its caliber in the western United States."
Currey said the festival is able to remain free due to year-long fundraising for it along with selling water, soda, shirts and hats at the festival. He also mentioned the raffle tickets that help to raise money for the next festival. And there are several prizes for this year's raffle, such as a $700 mandolin, a $500 guitar, a two-person kayak and Disneyland passes.
Currey spoke well of this year's music, stating that "we have three bands that have never been here before," along with two returning bands. The two returners are The Sonoran Dogs, who Currey said were at the festival last year and wanted to come back, and Burnett Family Bluegrass. The new bands are The Vintage Martins, Blue Moon, and the Central Valley Boys. Currey stated that the bands were hand-picked by someone very knowledgeable in bluegrass.
And it's not just the music that draws. Currey said that there's a lot of people who come to the festival to join in with jam sessions that are either in front of the courthouse or at the campground, which is on the track at Mile High Middle School.
"We will have a couple hundred people jamming all weekend," Currey said, mentioning that people just have to walk up to a group and start playing. They don't even need to be experienced.
The Prescott Bluegrass Festival will be at Courthouse Plaza, 120 S. Cortez St on Saturday, June 27 from 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday, June 28 from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., when the raffle begins.
For more information, call Currey at 928-445-2000 ext. 112.
Follow Jason on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.