The Wintergrass Festival in Bellevue, Washington just took place February 22-25. Folks came from all over the country, and some from overseas to attend this festival, which is one of the premiere traditional music events of the country. It was a special year for Wintergrass since they were celebrating their 25th anniversary year.
On average they take in about 5000 people a day, many of whom stayed on site at the hotel or at another hotel in the vicinity. The halls were often full of people jamming and meeting new friends, or catching up with old ones. They had multiple stages with top notch bands as well as a multitude of workshops. The third floor had showcases and jams led by regional organizations like the Washington Area Music Association.
There were loads of great vendors selling instruments, mics, clothes, jewelry, foods, and even massages. There was also a table where one could buy raffle tickets for a number of fine instruments and a beautifully hand made music-themed quilt.
The Wintergrass Youth Academy runs Thursday and Friday of the festival, and has a wide array in ages of participants. They work with an adult band leader in a small band context, as well as on some songs with the whole group. The kids will work up to performing on Friday on a main festival stage, and get to try some other instruments, folk dancing, and other fun activities. Joe Craven does a great job as a leader of the large group time with the Youth Academy, and has the kids laughing and smiling and getting really excited about all the ways one can have fun with music. It is hard to not get excited about music with Joe Craven demonstrating how pumped he is about playing.