The music of America will take root on June 8 and 9 for the 7th Annual Bluegrass Festival at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe. Traditional American bluegrass acts such as Ronnie Reno and the Reno Tradition, Kenny and Amanda Smith Band and the Warrior River Boys will take the stage in the park’s amphitheater.

Bluegrass is considered “American roots music” since it largely evolved in the United States. While its early musical roots took hold in Ireland, Scotland and England, the origin of one of bluegrass’s primary instruments, the banjo, can be dated back thousands of years to parts of Africa. But traditional American bluegrass was born out of the early country music of the 1900s. The term bluegrass was coined in 1938 when a young man from Kentucky named Bill Monroe formed his first band called the Blue Grass Boys. Monroe is considered the “Father of Bluegrass Music” and took to the mandolin like Beethoven did a piano. Monroe brought in Earl Scruggs—noted for developing his own three-finger-picking style of banjo playing—and the sound of bluegrass was born.

The music—which relies mainly on acoustic stringed instruments such as the fiddle and the banjo—was inspired by the music of Appalachian immigrants, as well as jazz and blues. In bluegrass, like jazz, each instrument takes a turn playing the melody and improvising around it, in contrast to one instrument leading throughout while the others provide accompaniment. Many times artists will blend into a four-part harmony without instruments. Festival attendees will also be entertained with artists’ humor and unique musical talents often showcased within their acts.


Kenny and Amanda Smith Band

The 7th Annual Three Sisters Park Bluegrass Festival promises to be one of the most diverse bluegrass shows and features some of the most talented national touring bands around. Music will be on hand from Carmel Sheerin & the Ravens—rated the number one European Bluegrass Band in 2006 by the European Bluegrass Music Association—and Ronnie Reno and the Reno Tradition. Quintessential bluegrass favorites David Davis and the Warrior River Boys and younger contemporary acts such as the Farewell Drifters and the Martin Family will also bring their talents to the stage.

Because the show will take place under the covered pavilion, the festival will go on rain or shine. If the weather cooperates, the building will be open for outdoor seating as well. But no matter what the weather holds, don’t forget to bring a lawn chair. The festival begins at 7 pm on Friday and continues Saturday from 1 pm to 7 pm. Instrument workshops will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday. Band merchandise, food and refreshments will also be available. Tickets are $25 for a weekend pass, $12 for evening shows only or $17 for both of Saturday’s shows. Ages 16-18 get in for half-price and 15 and under get in free with an adult. The 400-acre park—located at 17189 N. Route 29—allows for primitive camping and also has electric sites for camping trailers. For ticket and camping information please contact Three Sisters Park at 274-8837. For more information on the festival and band schedules visit www.bluegrassmidwest.com. a&s