ABRAM-VILLAGE - The Evangeline Bluegrass Festival takes place annually the second weekend of July. This year's festival offers 14 groups of musicians playing bluegrass and traditional music extending over four days.
Bluegrass music fans from across Canada and many parts of the United States have converged at the Centre Expo-Festival complex in Abram-Village starting Thursday for the 14th annual Evangeline Bluegrass and Traditional Music Festival. The festival continues until Sunday July 13.
High-performing bluegrass bands from Virginia (U.S.A.), Ontario and the Maritimes are presenting 30 hours of music.
For the first time, the program began on Thursday evening for a special two-hour show as part of the PEI 2014 celebrations.
The highlight of the weekend is exepcted to be the James King Band from Danville, Virginia. King is considered one of the greatest bluegrass musicians working today. He launched his musical career in 1979. In 1988, he released his first album under his own name, "James King Sings Cold, Cold World." In 1994, "These Old Pictures," was named Breakthrough Album of the Year by Bluegrass Unlimited and led to King being named the Emerging Artist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 1997. The 1998 recording of "Bed by the Window," was the recording debut of the James King Band and was nominated for IBMA's 1999 Song of the Year Award. The bluegrass artist will perform on Friday and Saturday, July 11 and 12.
A duo, who will undoubtedly receive a lot of attention, the Tebworth Brothers, from Sterling, Ont., will be back to the centre stage by popular demand. Eleven-year-old Wyatt and nine-year-old Marshal are already considered seasoned veterans in the bluegrass world, having performed at numerous venues across Ontario and other parts of Canada and the United States since 2009. This will be their second consecutive appearance in P.E.I. Marshal, performing since the age of four, sings and plays the fiddle and upright bass, while his brother Wyatt, who began playing the fiddle at age three, sings and plays the mandolin and upright bass. This high-energy duo will also perform Friday and Saturday.
Other groups joining the festival lineup include Monroe, Back Roads and Bluegrass Diamonds from New Brunswick; Eight Wheel Drive and Next Generation from Nova Scotia; Janet McGarry and Wildwood, S.K. Bluegrass, Two Plus Three, Blue Persuasion, Blue Zone, Heartfelt Bluegrass, Joe Casey and West Wind from P.E.I.
Festival committee co-presidents, Dianne Gallant and Raymond Bernard, believe it's the atmosphere that makes a bluegrass festival such a great event.
"A lot of musicians attend the festival," they add. "And you are invited to take part in the picking and jamming in the campground, where amateur and professional musicians come together to entertain you into the wee hours of the morning."
The festival will also include workshops, open mike sessions and a children's program. Meals will be available throughout the weekend at the Expo-Festival Centre and there will be canteen services on site. Sites with hook-ups are still available and lots of space for rough camping.
For more information call Gallant, 854-3457, Bernard, 854-2324, or campground manager Eric Richard at 315-2593. You can also visit the festival's website at www.evangelinebluegrassfestival.ca.