2021 Blissfield Bluegrass on the River report

The tenth Blissfield Bluegrass on the River took place on Saturday, August 14. A wonderful crowd enjoyed fantastic weather and even better music. The festival takes place in Blissfield, Michigan at the Bachmeyer Park on the banks of the River Raisin. It is hosted by the Southeast Michigan Bluegrass Music Association, the Blissfield Rotary, and the Village of Blissfield. Two stages keep entertainment going all day.

The main stage features local bluegrass bands. The side stage showcases individual and new entertainers.

Rotary representative Russ Quinton kicked off the festival by giving a little history of the local club and of their involvement with the festival. He and Association member Sami O’Brien lead the audience in singing The Star Spangled Banner.

Hand Hewn, led by Ol’ Hippie Jerry Eicher, led off on the main stage. The band does old time and original music.

Fiddlin’ Dixie and Jesse Riley kicked off the second stage. Dixie has been a mainstay from the beginning of the festival.

J.T. and Thunderhill made their first appearance. J.T. (Julie Theroux) is a well know folk and bluegrass singer.

Association Member Ron Benton spent the day coordinating the jam pavilion. Musicians spent the day with jamming, jamming, and more jamming.

Bobby and Patsy Anne Hutch were next on the side stage. Bobby recently turned 90 years of age and is celebrating his 74th year as a musician and songwriter.

Bridge County followed on the main stage. They also have performed at BBoR a number of times.

Genevieve Rose has the distinction of having played the side stage at the first festival and the tenth.

Out of the Blue was the headliner for the festival. They are a Michigan band that plays top notch bluegrass.

Fiddlin’ Dixie and Li’l Friends passed out thirty “Gig-To-Go” bags to youngsters at the Kid’s Corner. One happy young man won a guitar.

Association president Bill Warren presided over Hall of Honor inductions. Two of the inductees were unable to be at the ceremony. Sandy and the late Dick Neff were honored earlier. They are wonderful bluegrass fans and volunteers. Randy Beckey, Owner of Beckey’s Kountry Kitchen was also unable to attend. Randy is the reason that there is a festival. He is the driving force behind the original show.

Accepting on behalf of the late Farrell Clark was his daughter Polly. He led the bluegrass gospel group F.M. Clark and the Faith Singers for many years.

The Miller Bothers were also inducted. Accepting was Charlie Miller. He accepted on behalf of himself and late brothers Earl and James. They played in the Detroit area in the 1970s.

Large numbers of both the Clark and Miller families were on hand for the inductions.

Association member Bill Luzier auctioned pies and a Costco membership raising over $250.

Red, White, and Bluegrass hit the stage with traditional bluegrass music. Band leader Sam Costelli is also a festival sponsor.

The Galbraith Clan was next on the side stage. They play old time, country, and bluegrass music.

Huron Ridge is a newly formed band fronted by Willie Carter and Chris Dawson. They do primarily original music.

Tom Silveous played classic country music from the side stage. He also provided the pies for the auction.

The Jesse Manns Bluegrass Band was next on the main stage. Jesse follows in the footsteps of his late father, Mitch Manns. He is rapidly becoming an in-demand musician.

Kimberly Leach closed out the side stage. She has performed several times at the festival.

Out of the Blue closed out the festival with the audience calling for more.

Workshops were presented throughout the day. Beginning Jam, Beginning Harmonica (harmonicas were given to the participants), and Common Fiddle Tunes were given by Mike and Mary Ross. History of the 5 string banjo was presented by Jesse Riley.

Next year’s Blissfield Bluegrass on the River is tentatively scheduled for August 13, 2022.

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