Eight years ago an idea became a reality in Blissfield, Michigan. The Blissfield Downtown Development Authority presented Blissfield Bluegrass on the River for the first six years. The Southeast Michigan Bluegrass Music Association accepted the challenge of managing and operating the festival in 2017. The Association just completed it’s second year at the helm. The festival is a free community festival that is supported by local businesses and individuals.
One of the longtime, and co-presenting sponsors is the Blissfield Rotary. Russ Quinton of the Rotary spoke to the crowd and thanked them for coming to the festival. The bands and performers are all from either Michigan or Ohio. Indian Ridge provided the sound and Jerry Eicher of the Ol Hippie Bluegrass show was MC. A big “Thank You” needs to go out to the many volunteers who pitched in and made BBoR a great success. One of those volunteers is Anna Andres who manned a CandidPix.info camera throughout the day and provided some great pictures. Thanks Anna!
Music fans began to show up at Bachmayer Park well before the scheduled performances. The Blissfield High Varsity Cheer Squad handled the parking for the day as a fundraiser. They did a great job and raised some needed money for themselves.
Fiddlin’ Dixie and L’il Friends once again presented the Kiddie Corner. Miss River Raisin 2018, Haley Petrowski, helped youngsters in the Kiddie Corner for most of the afternoon. The Mansfield Girl Scouts did face-painting for the kids.
There were performances on the main stage with side stage performers between each main stage band.
Calabogie Road from western Michigan kicked off the main stage. They are a mainstay of the West Michigan Bluegrass Music Association. The side stage was managed by Ron Benton. Fiddlin’ Dixie and the Woodshed Pickers opened the side stage. Dixie and her daughters present the Kiddie Corner at 5 events for the Association along with presenting at several other events.
Fossil Creek followed on the main stage, a local band that is one of the area’s top entertainers. Wolf Creek Rising then hit the side stage. Red, White, and Bluegrass followed. They are all local to the greater Blissfield area. Candy Miller then took her turn on the side stage. The Huron River Band performed in a tribute to recently passed band leader, Ralph Sandifur. Ralph’s brother Steve now leads the band. All of us at the Association certainly appreciated the band making this appearance. Joe Kidd and Sheila Burke appeared for the second year on the side stage.
Detour made their second appearance of the summer at BBoR. They have not toured for two years. It was certainly a pleasure to here them again. The JAM Band was up next on the side stage. The band is chosen by blind draw from the musicians playing in the Jam area. Association VP, John Bayerl, organized the jamming area and drew for the bands. Beckey’s Kountry Kitchen provided a pint of jam to each jam band participant. Ottawa County was next on the main stage. They are from the Port Clinton, Ohio area and play many Ohio and Michigan festivals. Tierra Raiti followed on the side stage. Milan, Michigan band, One Accord, provided a set of stirring bluegrass Gospel music. Layne Holdridge & Friends closed out the side stage. Detour came back and closed out the festival.
Between bands pies were auctioned. Association member, Bill Luzier, was our auctioneer. He kept the bidding hot and heavy!
The Association also inducted it’s 2018 Hall of Honor members: Bob Campbell and Jimmy Campbell. Family members were unable to attend, so Association President, Bill Warren, and Committee member, Ron Benton, accepted on their behalf. Also honored were Roy Cobb and Dana Cupp Jr. Roy was unable to attend and Dana accepted on his behalf. Richard “Dick” Diederle was honored as a founding member of the RFD Boys. His widow, Karen Hertenstein, accepted for him. She was joined by RFD Boy, Charlie Roehrig. Former Jim and Jesse banjo picker Tim Ellis was honored along with Toledo’s own Jimmy Thompson. An excellent class for 2018. Nominations for the 2019 class are now being accepted by the Association.
Next year’s Blissfield Bluegrass on the River is scheduled for August 17, 2019. See you there!