Since 1986, Terry Lease has been actively promoting bluegrass music in Illinois, and surrounding midwestern states. He and his wife, Jan, hosted their first Greater Downstate Indoor Bluegrass Festival in Springfield in November of ’86, and have run it annually this past 28 years.
They have also produced or help promote festivals and concerts in nearby Missouri, Indiana and Ohio during their time in bluegrass through their company, Midwest Bluegrass Festivals, running to 180 in total.
But with retirement age upon them, Terry and Jan have decided that it’s time for them to let go of the reins and enjoy the leisure their hard work has earned them. The Greater Downstate Indoor Bluegrass Festival that was recently held in Springfield, IL will be the last.
Terry, who had served as the Event Producer representative on the IBMA Board from 1994-2000, said they hope someone will continue the work they have started.
We hope that someone will pick up the mantle and keep these events going, or get something new started, maybe in a new or nearby town. Jan and I look forward to helping in any way we can.
Things come and go, and we’re happy to have had the opportunity to help people learn about the music that’s been part of our life for so long. Let them see all the aspects of the music, from the professionals on stage to the jammers in the campground.”
Their web site, www.bluegrassmidwest.com, will continue to operate listing active bands and bluegrass events in their area.
Bluegrass around the world survives and thrives because of people like Jan and Terry Lease, who take the risks and do the work of bringing it to the people. A hearty salute to the Leases as they leave the stage!