Originally Published: June 18, 2015 5:41 p.m.
Break out the banjos and mandolins and prepare to jam with scores of music lovers at the Prescott Bluegrass Festival, held this year on Saturday and Sunday, June 27-28. Now in its 34th year, the festival will have people jamming all weekend, as well as welcoming new and returning bands.
Chamber of Commerce Special Events Coordinator Scott Currey said the festival started out quite differently back in the 1980s.
"It started as a fiddle contest in the gazebo on the square," Currey said, stating that it has grown to be the "only free bluegrass festival of its caliber in the Western United States."
And it's not merely the festival that many people come for, according to Currey, who said that quite a few come to jam in front of the courthouse or at the festival campsite, which is the track at Mile High Middle School. Currey said there will be a couple hundred people jamming all weekend. All folks have to do is walk up to a group and start playing. He said they don't even need to be experienced players.
Currey estimated that there were about 7,000 people who came to last year's festival, but there's always the goal of trying to top the previous number. He noted that the Saturday night event will also help, as The Sonoran Dogs are coming back after having played last year.
"They wanted to come back and finish," Currey said. "And they're bringing a surprise with them."
Also returning this year, Currey stated, is Burnett Family Bluegrass. The other bands, which include The Vintage Martins, Blue Moon, and the Central Valley Boys, have never been to Prescott before. And Currey said that they were handpicked.
Why such a sizeable bluegrass festival can continue to remain free is because of fundraising all year long, as well as selling water, soda, shirts and hats at the festival. There's also the sale of raffle tickets, which Currey said helps to raise money for the next festival.
This year's raffle prizes include four one-day park hopper tickets to Disneyland, a two-person kayak, $25 to Leff-T's Steakhouse & Grill, a $700 mandolin, a $500 guitar, and a 50-inch flat screen TV. Currey said that the drawing is at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Winners do not need to be present to win.
The Prescott Bluegrass Festival will be at the 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, visit PrescottKudos.com or dCourier.com.
- by Jason Wheeler, The Daily Courier
Follow Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037, or 928-642-5277.