Weekend photos from Marshall Bluegrass Festival

Blue Mafia at the 2016 Marshall Bluegrass Festival in Michigan - photo © Bill WarrenFriday at the Marshall Bluegrass Festival opened with a newly formed band, The Local Mash, created by Tony Zapolnik and his fiancé, Jennifer Strickland. Jennifer is a well-known bassist/singer/songwriter in the bluegrass world. They are joined by Michiganders Danielle Smith and Chad Phelps. Indiana/Michigan band Echo Valley put in their second day at the festival.

Festival sound was handled by the capable hand and ear of Jimmy Kittle. The weekend’s MC was Earl “The Pearl” Workman. Johnny Campbell, Michigander and brother of the late Jimmy Campbell brought his band, The Drifters, to the Marshall stage for the first time. Johnny will be appearing at various Michigan venues in the next few months.

Wapakoneta, Ohio’s New Outlook has become a staple at the Marshall Bluegrass Festival. Brad and Lori Lambert bring their music store, Park Street Music to the festival along with their wonderful band. Michigan’s own Missy Armstrong joined Lori and Brad for a couple strong, old country tunes during the evening set. Tony Holt and the Wildwood Valley Boys provided the audience with some of the well-remembered Boys from Indiana music along with some of the band’s original tunes. Goldwing Express closed out the day’s music for the second day. They gained a new fan during the evening. Bluegrass fans comes in all sizes, shapes — and some are green!

Saturday at Marshall always starts with one of the very best band scramble contests anywhere. Jan Green has organized the scramble for over ten years. This year she had seven bands put together. This is always a highlight of the festival. Then banjo player and Charlotte Bluegrass Festival promoter, Wes Pettinger, was honored for his contributions to bluegrass music in Michigan.

Idletymes from Ohio/West Virginia opened the afternoon stage show. They have been providing top notch music to audiences for quite a few years. Larry Efaw brought his Bluegrass Mountaineers to the festival. The Mountaineers provide hard-driving Stanley-style mountain music. Nightflyer also made their first appearance at Marshall. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed their two sets of music.

Blue Mafia has rapidly become a favorite band of the Michigan/Ohio/Indiana music scene. Dara and Tony Wray along with brother-in-law Kent Todd provide strong harmonies. Steve Gulley and New Pinnacle closed out the festival. Steve and his band give an audience full measure in their shows.

The next stop for this photographer is the Milan Bluegrass Festival, August 4-6. See you there!