by Charlie Hansen
It’s bluegrass festival time again on PEI and the first festival out of the chute is actually a campout known as the St. Louis Bluegrass Campout. This campout takes place on June 25, 26 and 27 on the grounds of the St. Louis Community Center. Local and regional bands are featured each year and there’s lots of jammin’ and friendly folks. This campout has grown in popularity each year and is a hit with everyone that attends because of the relaxed friendly atmosphere.
The grandaddy of all bluegrass and old time music festivals on PEI is the PEI Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival. This festival is celebrating it’s 29th year of operation and has gotten bigger and better each year.
This year’s festival features Audie Blaylock & Redline from Tennessee, Shannon Slaughter & County Clare from Alabama and Art Stevenson & High Water from Wisconsin as well as our local and regional bands.
Audie Blaylock is a veteran of the bluegrass wars and has played in many groups through the years, most notably a nine year tenure with Jimmy Martin. Audie’s website says: Award-winning vocalist and guitarist, Audie Blaylock is certainly one of the hottest Bluegrass artists today. Along with his band Redline, they are celebrating a load of #1 singles from numerous albums on the Rural Rhythm Records label, and thrilling audiences with their incredible musicianship, impeccable harmony and highly entertaining stage shows.
Shannon Slaughter & County Clare come to us from Alabama and bring many years of experience in the bluegrass world. Shannon’s website says: County Clare mixes fresh, original material that is written primarily by Slaughter (winner of the prestigious 2012 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest) with time-honored traditional bluegrass and country favorites. County Clare is comprised by an immensely talented core group of musicians and singers who believe in keeping a foot in the past and an eye on the future.
Art Stevenson and High Water is Wisconsin’s best-known bluegrass show, and has been in demand throughout the Midwest festival circuit since 1993. Art’s website says: High Water’s repertoire is taken from many sources: the bluegrass classics of Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers, early country music, mountain songs, and new material. Their blend of traditional bluegrass numbers, originals, contemporary songs, and instrumentals satisfies a wide range of music lovers.
Along with these fine US bands we also feature The Bluegrass Diamonds, back for their twentieth year, Blue Tie Affair, a fine band form Nova Scotia, A New Shade Of Blue, perhaps one of the most enduring groups in Maritime bluegrass history, and Simply Blue, a young and energetic group from New Brunswick.
Local groups will be prominently featured as well as open mic, workshops, a songwriters circle and concessions.
We'll talk about more festivals happening in July in our next column.