Music from America’s cultural roots, food trucks, model railroads
By Dana Trumbull
On Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11, the Arizona Bluegrass Festival is coming to Earth Heart Park, 625 N. Plaza Drive, in Apache Junction. Conceived and organized by the Arizona Bluegrass Association (ABA), the festival will spotlight more than a dozen Arizona bluegrass bands, food trucks, vendors and raffles. In addition, three operating model railroads will be on display inside the Horizon Health & Wellness lobby and in the Earth Heart Park garden.
The festival will run 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Saturday’s fun will continue after the bands are done, with an open jam session at 5 p.m. Community members are invited to bring their guitars, banjos and autoharps, and jam with the professionals!
Festival organizer and ABA Co-Chair Fred Obermeyer is excited to be able to bring attention to the Arizona musicians, “Not very many bluegrass bands in the state of Arizona are recognized – so we’re putting the money and the recognition back into our state.”
Obermeyer credits the volunteer efforts of many organizations and individuals for making the Arizona Bluegrass Festival possible. In particular, he cites Horizon Health and Wellness, “Horizon is just so overwhelmingly kind in what they do. Their generosity is beyond anything I’ve seen.” Horizon’s contributions to the festival include the use of the park and the Health and Wellness building lobby, as well as covering the requisite insurance for the festival by adding a rider on their own policy. “I just cried when I heard that,” said a grateful Obermeyer, as fresh tears welled up in his eyes. “They’re so excited at Horizon. They can’t believe this is happening. I told them, ‘This is happening, because you are partnering on it, and you have given us more than we expected.’”
Bluegrass music has its roots in Irish, Scottish and English traditional music and is strongly influenced by the music of Appalachia; however, according to bluegrassheritage.org, “In addition to the classic style born in 1945 that is still performed widely, bluegrass bands today reflect influences from a variety of sources, including traditional and fusion jazz, contemporary country music, Celtic music, rock & roll, old-time music and Southern gospel music.”
Photo above: Jam Pak, one of the featured bands at the AZ Bluegrass Festival, works with children, engaging them with a love for authentic American folk music.