Thursday at the The Marshall Bluegrass Festival

Edgar Loudermilk Band at the Marshall Bluegrass Festival (7/27/23) – photo © Bill Warren

The 2023 edition of the Marshall Bluegrass Festival in Michigan officially kicked off Thursday, though promoter Jeremie Cole has provided activities all week for the early arriving fans. 

Sunday had a gospel sing and service. Monday was bingo day. Tuesday had a euchre tournament. Wednesday saw a cornhole tournament and a Texas Hold’em tournament. Wednesday also saw karaoke all evening from the stage.

There has been campsite picking until the wee hours of every morning and family movie night Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at dusk.

It seems that no show can go on completely issue free. Jeremie received a call from his MC Thursday morning. He had a medical issue and can’t make the show. So, Jeremie did some recruiting. Lori Lambert and I handled the MC duties on Thursday. Terri Grannis and I will handle them for the rest of the weekend. The bluegrass community always can find a way!

The stage show was kicked off by Ohio band Ottawa County. They have been a staple at Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana festivals for many years. Brothers Dennis and Joe Mitchell head the band.

Foxtail Grass does a reunion show at Marshall, an Ohio band from the past. Brothers Jim and Lynn Fox bring back the sounds of the band’s heyday.

Michigan band Out of the Blue was up next. They are one of the long time Michigan bands that feature the guitar playing of 82 year young Dave Conley. He is arguably one of the very best guitar players.

Harbourtown is the festival host band and on Thursday played their only set of the weekend. They are all busy keeping things smooth the rest of the time. The surprise of the day was the singing of 16 year old Troy Cole. He has just started singing with the band. He is a TALENT! Jeremie is justifiably proud of him.

New Outlook brings the band, the Moon City Boutique, and Brad Lambert’s instrument repair shop. Brad barely had time to play the band set. He had instruments on the bench constantly. He’s the guy to see if you need some work done.

Terri Grannis brought the Edgar Loudermilk band to the stage. She is the band publicist among her many hats. Edgar has just signed a record deal with Pinecastle Records. He will soon be releasing two new projects. He is doing two more sets on Friday. Band banjo player, Anthony Howell has also been nominated for IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year.

Country dance band Bootleg closed out the evening with lots of fun for the two-steppers. They are becoming a favorite at Michigan and Ohio festivals.

Larry Efaw and the Bluegrass Mountaineers, The Caleb Daugherty Band, and Fastrack join the fun on Friday.

Saturday always features the Band Scramble. A blind draw creates bands who compete for prize money. It is one of the best scrambles. Jan Green has run this for many of the 26 years of the festival. The Kevin Prater Band and the Country Gentlemen Tribute band are on the Saturday bill also.

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