Just as the blue birds return to the grasslands around the Three Mile area, bluegrass at the Lone Rock School is another sign of spring. This Saturday, April 13, the Montana Rockies Bluegrass Association will have their Oldtime Bluegrass Festival & Fundraiser. The event will begin at 12 noon and run until 8:30 p.m. with a different band playing every half hour.
This is the 20th annual spring bluegrass festival. The event began 20 years ago at the Victor School. It was held there for four years, then moved to Stevensville’s multipurpose room for six years. They found a home at Lone Rock and have been there for the last 10 years, according to Mike Conroy, one of the founders of the event.
One of the special signature events is the first band of the day when the Kids in Bluegrass take the stage. Some of these youngsters have been performing for some time but for others, this is their first time on the stage. But there is comfort in numbers and the youngsters set the pickin’ and grinnin’ for the day.
Conroy said there are other players who will take the stage for the first time. Some are new to the genre but others just haven’t found the time to perform. Many players get together to ‘jam’ and eventually put together a band. There are also those who will be playing in multiple bands. They all come together for fun and camaraderie with good music as the binder.
Mosers & Friends are on stage at 1 p.m., followed by Ridge Runners, Bluegrass 101, Darby Sireens, Bird Hop and Pinegrass. At 3:30, the Mike & Tari Conroy band takes the stage. Mike and Tari have been playing music for more than 42 years. At 4 p.m., Skookumchuck Bear Claws take the mic. Following them are Sapphire Mountain, Spring Thaw, Smokestack String Band, Salmon Valley String Band, Lower Rattlesnake Ramblers, Silver Gravely Revue, Shenanigans and the event finishes up with Tin Cup. The bands come from as far away as Whitefish, MT and White Bird, ID.
There will be a turkey dinner served with all the trimmings. Conroy said that five turkeys will be cooked for the day with taters, gravy, stuffing, pies and all the good stuff. The event is a fundraiser for the association and there will be some MRBA memorabilia available for sale as well as food and of course, admission. Admission is $5 for non-members for the day and $3 for members. Children under 12 are free. More information can be found at mtbluegrass.com or call Conroy at 821-3777.