Lloyd Loar Hometown Bluegrass Festival launches in Illinois

Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewiston, IL will be hosting their first ever bluegrass festival this weekend in celebration of hometown boy, Lloyd Loar, who was raised in their community as a young man.

The Museum is part of the Illinois State Museum system, and is the site of a major archeological repository of American Indian artifacts. They are located in a rural setting in the west central part of the state, and welcome visitors daily with an interest in this part of the state’s history.

Loar’s is a familiar name to bluegrass musicians, as he was the chief developer of the Gibson F-style mandolin and the Mastertone banjo pot assembly which have been used since the mid-1940s to play the music. Despite Gibson’s dropping of their high end banjo manufacturing, most instruments made with an eye to the bluegrass market still use a close variant of that same design, with some builders proclaiming it as their design inspiration.

Likewise with mandolins, most every F or scroll-style instrument is closely based on Loar’s inspiration.

So it is nice to see folks in his home town preserve his name in this way. Young Lloyd moved to Lewiston in 1889 with his parents when he was three years old. He went to school there through his high school years, and began to play music while he was there.

On August 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. the Museum will welcome visitors to enjoy the 1st annual Lloyd Loar Hometown Bluegrass Festival on the museum grounds. There is no charge to attend this year, but donations will be gratefully accepted.

Workshops are also scheduled, and space has been set aside for jamming as well.

The Museum staff invites everyone to attend, and suggests that you bring lawn chairs, blankets, or whatever else you may need to get through the day, including sunscreen and food/drink.

In case of rain, everything will be moved indoors.

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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.