Debut Webster Bluegrass Jamboree & Ice Cream Social report

The Companion Band plays the Dieterle Corncrib Stage (8/5/23) in Dexter, MI

This report is a contribution from Chris Sorenson with Companion Custom Banjos, who helped put on this new event in southeastern Michigan.

On August 5, festival goers traveled back in time to hear the sweet sounds of traditional bluegrass at historic Webster Village in Dexter, Michigan. The fully restored blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse, and general store were just a few of the time capsules that set the backdrop for the inaugural Bluegrass Jamboree & Ice Cream Social, hosted by the Webster Township Historical Society in partnership with Companion Banjos.

The first-time event was a big hit with the community, drawing almost 300 guests to the grounds’ Dieterle Corncrib Stage that hosted local entertainers, including the Companion Band, Northwoods Ramblers, and Cedar Creek Bluegrass. The Webster Township Historical Society kicked-off the event with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open its new walking path that wraps around the village green and connects all six historic buildings. Open-jams then popped up around the property. Fiddlers, pickers, and foot-stompers took their natural place beneath the shade of lush maples on what could only be described as the perfect summer day. 

In the background there was a flurry of fun for all ages, including cornhole, ice cream, and a kid’s area to chase bubbles and enjoy face painting. And for those looking to take home a keepsake, the general store was fully stocked with nostalgic gifts, handmade crafts, and historical literature from local authors. 

“We were thrilled to see so much interest in this bluegrass event from our community,” says Chris Sorenson of Companion Banjos. “The response we received was incredible. All day, guests were stopping us to share how much they appreciated having this style of live music so close to home.”

The event was a fundraiser for the Webster Township Historical Society, whose mission is to preserve, promote, and bring to life the history of Webster Township through the preservation and sharing of its buildings, archives, and artifacts, and to connect to the community through programs and activities. The idea for the bluegrass event came after Companion Banjos, a business local to Webster Township, gave a presentation about the history of banjos and bluegrass music in America to historical society members. With a team of volunteers and support from community businesses, the Bluegrass Jamboree was born.

“I’ve been a bluegrass fan for years, and believed this event would be a perfect fit for our village, and a special way to bring attention to the rich history that surrounds us,” said Thelma Tucker, president of the historical society. 

Organizers are already putting plans in place to host the event again next year on August 3, 2024, and look forward to expanding the Dieterle Corncrib Stage lineup.