Saturday, April 4, 2009

Missouri River Festival

A highlight for area stringband music fans, the 19th annual Missouri Bluegrass Festival is set for Friday evening and Saturday, June 19 & 20, 2009 at Cross Ranch State Park in central North Dakota. Headlining the event is the High 48’s bluegrass band from Minnesota, winners of Colorado’s prestigious Rockygrass Band competition in 2008. The High 48’s were a headliner at the Bismarck Bluegrass Festival last summer and won many fans with their first class approach to traditional bluegrass music. With hot picking and soulful singing, these boys are the real deal. In addition to performing, the band will be teaching a two-day bluegrass camp on Thursday and Friday, June 18 & 19, also at Cross Ranch State Park.

Other festival performers include Blue Hazard, the New North String Band, Simple Infant Men, Stoney Run, and Spiritwood Creek with more yet to be finalized.

Blue Hazard is a Minnesota bluegrass band that began as a family band and now includes three siblings. Hannah, Luke, and Dale Gruber, along with friend Jeremy Rooney, have been performing together for several years and it shows. Their harmony singing and instrumental skills are a delight!

The New North String Band from Wisconsin was formed in June of 2008; the group plays a variety of original and traditional music. These guys are a joy to watch and are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

The Simple Infant Men is a bluegrass band from Minot, ND. Together now for about a year, the SIM are rooted in traditonal bluegrass with strong vocals and great picking.

Spiritwood Creek has been performing in the region for several years and are based in the Jamestown, ND area. The band features the singing and songwriting of bandleader Terry Schwartz.

Stoney Run is a group based in and around the Litchville, ND area. The Run features swing, jazz, and bluegrass music played on fiddle, banjo, guitar, and bass. The group has been together for a year-and-a-half.

The family-style event operates under the following mainstage-area guidelines: no pets, no alcohol, no unruly behavior, and smoking in designated areas only.

Ticket prices for the event are $12 for Friday evening, $18 for Saturday and $25 for Friday & Saturday. Children, 16 & under accompanied by a parent are admitted free. There is also a free Kid’s Fest which provides fun activities for young children while their parents and grandparents enjoy the music. Activities include movies, contests and games.

Additional information on the festival is available by calling Cross Ranch State Park at 701-794-3731. If you wish to camp in a late night jamming area, be sure to contact the Park at the number above before calling the State Parks’ camping reservation number, 800-807-4723. •

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