The Susanville Bluegrass Festival arrives at the Lassen County Fairgrounds this weekend. Bluegrass is considered one of the roots of Americana music that gained popularity in the 1940s and derives its name from one of that era’s most popular bands, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Why Monroe himself referred to the music as, “Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin’. It’s a part of Methodist, Holiness and Baptist traditions. It’s blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound.”
As with many things we consider uniquely American, bluegrass exhibits a mixture of influences as diverse as the traditional music of the British Isles, instruments from Italy such as violins and mandolins and even the African banjo, stirred together in our proverbial melting pot with blues and jazz and Southern culture to create a sound that exploded into country, rockabilly and dare I say it — rock and roll. It’s one of the roots, afterall.
Not quite sure you’d like this sort of music. Well, the Lassen County Fair offers a free preview night for locals at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23. The music is free, but the fair also offers a free tri-tip or chicken dinner for only $15.
The big hoedown begins at 11:45 a.m. Friday June 24 with performances by Sage Creek, The Family Sowell, Shawn Lane and Richard Bennett, One Button Suit, the Susanville Bluegrass Festival Music Camp Band, The Ol Pals and the Lonesome River Band.
The festival continues at 8:50 a.m. Saturday, June 25 with performances by The Sonoran Dogs, the Edgar Loudermilk Band, the Lonesome River Band, Shawn Lane and Richard Bennett, One Button Suit and The Family Sowell.
Sunday, June 26 opens with nondenominational services at 8:30 a.m. and a gospel show by the Family Sowell at 10 a.m. Other Sunday performers include Sage Creek, the Edgar Loudermilk Band and The Old Pals.
For tickets or more information, call the Lassen County Fair at 251-8900.