Bluegrass Festival: Four bands to play at West Wetlands Park on Saturday
9:45 a.m. - Opening ceremonies
10 to 10:45 a.m. - The Get Down Boys
10:55 to 11:40 a.m. - James Reams & The Barnstormers
11:50 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. - The Larry Gillis Band
12:35 to 1:10 p.m. - Lunch break
1:10 to 1:55 p.m. - Audie Blaylock & Redline
2:05 to 3 p.m. - James Reams & The Barnstormers
3:10 to 3:55 p.m. - The Get Down Boys
4:05 to 5 p.m. - The Larry Gillis Band
5:10 to 6 p.m. - Audie Blaylock & Redline
The Yuma Sun will be giving away five pairs of tickets for Yuma Bluegrass in the Park.
The giveaway will begin Wednesday morning on Facebook.
To participate, go to Facebook.com/YumaSunNews.
The critters at Yuma West Wetlands Park will be tapping their claws and snapping their paws this weekend when they share their habitat with some great bluegrass musicians.
Yuma Bluegrass in the Park kicks off its eighth year this Saturday, bringing to the river's edge some folks who really know how to sing – and pick a mean banjo.
The festival typically draws up to 3,000 people each year, so those critters certainly won't be alone in getting down to the great tunes.
“Oh, it's not uncommon to see people clapping their hands and stomping their feet. Sometimes in Yuma you see people get off to the side and do some dancing!” said concert promoter Larry Baker. “We encourage that. We want you to holler, have a good time and really get into it.”
Gates will open at 8:30 a.m.. Saturday, with music continuing into the early evening. In addition to the action on stage, Yuma Bluegrass in the Park will also feature food vendors, arts and crafts, and raffles.
Baker said he's bringing a great lineup of musicians to Yuma this year.
“These are bands people have heard of,” he said. “Most of them are from the East Coast or Midwest. They travel all around the country.”
One of the best-known names on the lineup is Larry Gillis. “He's only 48 and he's been playing for 30 years,” Baker raved. “He's phenomenal. It's hard core, hard-driving bluegrass music. It's fast paced and it keeps you hopping.”
Audience members are asked to bring blankets and chairs. Pets will not be permitted in the audience area.
Baker says he expects another big crowd this weekend, but he stressed that the numbers are always in the hands of Mother Nature.
“This is always a weather crowd. If it's too cool, they're not coming. If it's too warm, they're not coming,” Baker said, chuckling. “Last year we had some wind and cool weather, so the crowd was down a bit. But this weekend we're looking for and anticipating some good weather.”
Some folks just won't be spending the day at the park. Lots of festival goers also set up camp. Early camping will open Friday at noon for $12 per night.
Advance tickets for the festival are $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. Tickets are available at the Yuma Art Center, 254 S. Main St., as well as online at www.YumaAZ.gov/events.
Audie Blaylock and Redline
Audie Blaylock and his band Redline specialize in powerful traditional bluegrass music with a passion. They have played with some of bluegrass music's most distinguished acts over the years, including Jimmy Martin and Rhonda Vincent & The Rage.
Blaylock has also performed with the legendary Lynn Morris Band, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, and songwriter Harley Allen.
Redline boasts #1 singles from numerous albums on the Rural Rhythm Records label.
The Larry Gillis Band
One half of the legendary Gillis Brothers, Larry continues with his music career in bluegrass. He is a world renowned banjo picker and one of the few who still plays the old claw hammer style. This year marks 33 years in the business for Larry, also known by his title “Dr. Swampgrass Gillis.” This powerful ensemble of talented musicians can only be described as a hard-core, hard-driving, straight-up, traditional bluegrass band.
The Get Down Boys
The Get Down Boys are a talented group of young musicians who perform traditional bluegrass and bluegrass-gospel music. Young and energetic, this band entertains audiences all around the country.
James Reams & the Barnstormers
Rounding the full day of great bluegrass music is Arizona's own James Reams & the Barnstormers. The band was originally formed in 1993 and originally from southeastern Kentucky. James migrated north in his mid-teens, when his family moved to Appleton, Wis., where he stayed until he moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. James has played both old-time and bluegrass music since he was a child. His hometown of London, Ky., honored him in 2004 for his contributions to the arts and sciences at its annual Laurel County Homecoming.