There has been an outbreak in the State of Ohio. An outbreak of bluegrass festivals, that is! In the last two years the state of Ohio has seen quite a few new festivals popping up, with the addition of Mansfield Jamfest, Sterling Bluegrass Festival, SamJam, and many others. This past weekend saw the start of Mitch and Cindy’s Bluegrass Jamboree in Cortland. This was their first year, and it was a great success!
Held at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds, the site was the perfect setting for a great weekend of bluegrass. Excellent camping facilities and a brand new pavilion with a stage made for a fan and family-friendly setting. Bands included Matheson Family Pride, South 79, Vertical Limit, Caney Creek, New County Grass, and the Clay Hess Band.
The festival started Thursday with a band competition with the top 3 winners winning a spot in next year’s Festival. Winners were:
- Midnight Storm from Kentucky
- Kyle Jarvis and Third generation from Ohio
- Echo Valley, family band from Pennsylvania
Open Mic followed Thursday evening after the band competition.
Friday saw the start of the scheduled bands. At the end of the evening, after the Clay Hess band had performed, Clay and the band stayed on stage and provided bluegrass karaoke for any attendees who wanted to get up and have a chance to sing with the band. It was quite a time!
In attendance all weekend was a 13 year old young man from Clarion Pennsylvania by the name of Austin Heffelfinger. Austin is a young banjo prodigy who can be seen performing with Rhonda Vincent on her Facebook page. A fine young man and one heck of a banjo picker!
Saturday was music all day with tons of giveaways from the many businesses that helped sponsor the festival. The members of the Clay Hess Band put on an instrument workshop Saturday morning. Clay also jammed with folks after the evening shows were done. I must say, Clay is one of the biggest friends bluegrass music has. He took the time to sit with folks whether at a beginner or advanced level and show them guitar licks. Food vendors abounded with wood fired pizza, kettle corn, and Greek gyros.
South 79’s banjo player Gregg Welty has a solo project coming out that has tons of top notch pickers on it. Be on the lookout soon!