The 2021 Marshall Bluegrass Festival in Marshall, MI was a huge success! Held every year the last full weekend of July, Jeremie Cole, his fiance Alexus Ross, and the whole squad of family and volunteers make sure there is never a dull moment during the week of Marshall!
As festivals have progressed, a lot of retirees and younger folks on vacation like to get into a festival the weekend before, and spend the entire week at the event. Jeremie provides a full week of events before stage shows start on Thursday. Monday was bingo, Tuesday was a euchre tournament, Wednesday was a bloody Mary contest, a Texas hold ’em tournament, and then karaoke in the evening with Jeremie’s cousin Brent who does an outstanding job. Thursday was closest to the pin golf contest, blind draw cornhole, a cornhole tournament sponsored by Fatboy Cornhole, and then the stage show started with a dance night with the Bootleg Band. I can tell you these guys did an outstanding job playing a wide array of ’80s ’90s country, and also James Taylor style music. They were absolutely awesome!
There were also music workshops from Tuesday through Saturday covering everything from jamming etiquette to fiddle, songwriting, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bass.
Bluegrass stage shows started Friday and ran all day Friday and Saturday. All bands did a great job. One of the highlights was getting to see Ron Block perform with the Clay Hess Band. Ron spent years performing with Alison Krauss and Union Station and doesn’t get out to festivals a whole lot anymore, so this was a very special treat for everyone! Ron also participated in presenting a banjo workshop on Saturday. A very gracious man who is very kind with his time. Fast Track also performed on Saturday and really knocked it out of the park! Good hard driving traditional music. Some of the band members also came out in the evening and jammed with people in the campground. Ron Spears, Jesse Brock, and Steve Day participated in after hours jamming, and man did we ever have a blast!
Since the Marshall Bluegrass Festival’s inception, on Saturday, they do what’s called a Michigan Band Scramble. They take a certain number of banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, etc players and throw each individual instrument with the player’s name into a jar. They then start to pull band members out for each instrument and construct however many bands there are for participants. This year there were six bands. Caleb Daughtery was even gracious enough to participate. Band six was the winner! We all had so much fun!
Not enough good can be said about the Marshall Bluegrass Festival and the efforts that go into making sure everyone is having a good time. If you’ve never been to the festival it is definitely worth putting on your calendar next year!
You can keep an eye on the website for next year’s lineup!