Bluegrass festival will be jamming this weekend
People heard strumming their guitars and singing into the evening hours this week in George means only one thing.
The George Bluegrass Festival is back.
“We always start the Monday after (Farmer-Consumer Awareness Day),” said Debby Kooy, festival organizer. “It seems like a good time to pounce on it. Tuesday through Thursday people are jamming in the park.”
Last year, at least 250 people attended the popular music festival, which celebrates its ninth year. The public enjoys free admittance and camping for the George festival.
The week of the festival, campers start to trickle in on Monday and often stay through Sunday. Throughout the week, musicians, both amateur and professional, jam in the park. They are always open to an audience.
“I want people to feel comfortable to come up and listen to people jamming under their awnings.” Kooy said.
This year brings some new bands and some regulars to the festival. Joining musician Bertha Whiteside is her band the Combinations. They will perform at 2 p.m. on Friday. The festival also welcomes back the Weavils, who performed last year.
“We had the Weavils for the first time last year,” Kooy said. “They have the most fun, raucous band ever.”
New this year, the Moses Lake Dutch Oven Club will be cooking up a meal for the crowd from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at George Community Hall. The menu includes pulled pork, roasted vegetables and peach cobbler.
The meal costs $15 a person. Because organizers need to know how many are coming for dinner, tickets must be purchased from Kooy by Thursday. Watch for Kooy at the park throughout the week.
“It’s going to be a fabulous meal,” she said. “I am excited about the food lineup offerings.”
The bluegrass festival comes to George every year as a labor of love. Debby and her husband, George Mayor Elliot Kooy, found that the event helped grow their love and enjoyment of music.
“When Elliot and I started this festival, Elliot and I did not play instruments,” Kooy said. “We had our dusty guitars that we pulled out now and then. When we got ourselves surrounded by these bluegrass people, it was an itch I didn’t know I had. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s added a whole other dimension to our household.”
These days, Kooy enjoys taking her guitar out and playing with others. She finds it is the best way to learn new chords or a new song.
“It activates something in your brain,” Kooy said.
For a complete schedule of events, visit the festival’s website.
— By Tammara Green, QVPR contributor