The good folks at Wintergrass have been pondering how best to stay in touch with bluegrass lovers in the Pacific northwest while the festival is on hold due to COVID restrictions.
This festival is deeply appreciated by grassers in this part of the US and Canada, especially coming as it does during a time of the year when everything seems dark and cold. Regular attendees are missing in advance all the camaraderie and music they look forward to eagerly each year.
So staff have launched a new web series called PocketGrass, which will feature 12 episodes running 45 minutes each, including music, magic, storytelling, and a brief instrument workshop. They settled on a variety show format to keep the videos running smoothly, combining new and archival footage to bring the Wintergrass experience to loyal followers as best they can.
Each episode of PocketGrass will be based on a theme of some kind, with musical guests, and other aspects of the show, carrying this motif. They will be offered on the Wintergrass YouTube channel, free of charge, with one airing each month.
The debut episode will stream on September 10, and is described this way by the producers.
The first of twelve episodes has a theme of Blackberries. Storyteller and host, Aunt Mama, will take us on a musical trip around the world that includes Mike Block and Sandeep Das, Runaway Train, Squirrel Butter, and magician Chris the Conjurer. Ricky Gene Powell will teach a song in lightning speed on various instruments. Designed for all ages, PocketGrass will be built around a theme that includes a recipe and a story.
Other guests set to appear on futures shows include Laurie Lewis, Mike Marshall, Betse Ellis and Nefesh Mountain, and Kenny & Amanda Smith.
Patrice O’Neill, Executive Director of Wintergrass, says that they didn’t want to wait to come up with something to offer their fans.
“We are in this, and rather than looking back or holding our breath, until a different future emerges, we’re creating something that provides both work for artists, while entertaining and connecting with our fans. We miss our bluegrass family and want to be together, even if it’s virtual.”
And like all major festivals, they hope that those who enjoy the PocketGrass shows will consider making donations to help the festival during its forced year on hiatus.