County Bluegrass Festival, Fort Fairfield

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 1:12 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Hundreds of blue grass fans turned out at Farm Park in Fort Fairfield over the Labor Day weekend for the County Bluegrass Festival. The event kicked off on Thursday and ended Sunday, with a number of headlining bands playing as well as pop-up jam sessions put on by the patrons themselves. News Source 8′s Sherry Karabin stopped by Saturday to sample the sounds and find out why so many gravitate to the festival.

Renee Child, Longtime patron, County Bluegrass Festival, “I’ve been coming since 2014. It’s a wonderful, wonderful festival.”

From longtime patrons to first-time attendees...

Carol Savoy, First-time patron, County Bluegrass Festival “I love it! They’re so friendly here, great atmosphere, definitely come back again.”

Bluegrass fans from a number of northeast states and Canada turned out for this multi-day festival at Farm Park in Fort Fairfield.

Stev Rogeski, “Our audience is about 85 percent Canadian, but we have people here this weekend from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, we have a couple that are here from New York so it depends on the bands that we bring in some people follow specific bands from place to place.”

While the County Bluegrass Festival officially began Thursday afternoon, many made a week of it, setting up their motorhomes and campers on the grounds days before the bands arrived, taking advantage of the extra time to get to know other die-hard fans.

Helen Brown, First-time patron, County Bluegrass Festival, “We have friends that are here with us that are from that we know they come down after we did but we’ve met people that we’ve never seen before like and it’s like just walk by say hi you know come on in and talk with ya.”

It’s the 14th year this festival has been held. In fact, there are two events each summer and another one that’s traditionally taken place at the Presque Inn and Convention Center in January. The last fan gathering was at the end of July.

Renee Child “These festivals are so wholesome and fun. I come early and stay late.”

For those unfamiliar with bluegrass music, consider the words of people who are...

Stev Rogeski, “The true definition of bluegrass is. It’s a three chord set of music that Bill Monroe put together to make it easy so that anybody could pick an instrument up and learn how to play it and regardless of the songs the chords are almost all the same so it’s very easy to learn and be part of.”

Renee Child, “It’s very traditional music. It’s about down home and little cabins in the mountains and family values.”

As for the bands themselves, they come from a variety of places, including the Boston area, which is where The Ruta Beggars are located.

Micah Nicol, guitar player, The Ruta Beggars, “We find ourselves really at the intersection of very traditional and very progressive and I think the people...we’ve had people on both sides say you know I usually don’t like progressive bands, but you guys or I usually don’t like very traditional bands, but you guys so we’re right in between. We write our own material that we feel is sort of falling right in step with where the tradition is going.”

And like some of the fans, it’s the band’s first time here, but it won’t be the last time if they have anything to say about it.

In Fort Fairfield, this is Sherry Karabin reporting for News Source 8.