Darrington festival survives the mudslides

Darrington Bluegrass FestivalMuch of the world’s attention in late March was centered just east of Seattle, WA where a devastating mudslide took the lives of 41 people, destroyed hundreds of homes, and washed out critical highways in the area. Needless to say, the lives of a great many people have been affected by this tragedy, including those in nearby communities.

Just up river from Oso, where the slides occurred, is Darrington, which has hosted the Darrington Bluegrass Festival since 1977. Just a few weeks ago, holding this July’s scheduled event looked dubious. The main road into town had been completely washed out, and residents were exhausted from the rescue efforts, and traumatized by the death and destruction.

But with the arrival of Spring, so too came a reprieve for the festival. With the main access to town still cut off, snow has been cleared from other roads, reconnecting Darrington to the rest of the state. Last night Diana Morgan, Promotions & Public Relations manager for the Bluegrass & Country Music Makers Association who run the festival, told us that they are good to go for 2014.

“Our festival is going to happen this year in spite of all that has happened here with the mud slide and all. We have come too far with it to not have it now. Contracts have been signed and posters and flyers made. We are ready to do this thing.”

Long time festival attendee Ted Filler tells us that yesterday’s announcement that the festival will be held as originally scheduled (July 18-20), was welcome news for this ravaged region.

“The Seattle Seahawks, Sounders and others have made a visit to Darrington to stand with the survivors and cheer up the community. Even President Obama made a visit. Many, many others from across the country have shown their support and concern.

Based on the support from the Seattle and Vancouver, BC area, this will probably turn out to be the biggest festival ever.”

If ever there was a town that deserved a weekend of great bluegrass music, Darrington and the surrounding areas is surely it. Wonderful news for bluegrass fans in the northwest, and for weary residents who benefit from the influx of grassers each summer.

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers and Audie Blaylock & Redline are headlining, along with performances from a number of local and regional acts. Find full details about the Darrington Bluegrass Festival online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.