Bluegrass festival marking 12th year in Ligonier Valley
The twangs of banjos, mandolins, fiddles and guitars will resound through Ligonier Valley next week.
The 12th annual Laurel Highlands Bluegrass Festival will take place at the Ligonier Township Volunteer Fire Department Station No. 44, 1012 Harvey Road, on June 20 and 21. Seven bands from Pennsylvania and other states will take the stage for a weekend of family entertainment and music deeply rooted in tradition.
“These bands are in competition with Alan Jackson,” said Keith Neiderhiser coordinator of the event. “This is up-and-coming. I'm excited about this year.”
This year's lineup includes:
• Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers
• Feller & Hill & The Bluegrass Buckaroos
• Rachel Burge & Blue Dawning
• Lonesome Meadow
• Mac Martin & The Dixie Travelers
• The Martin Brothers & Aspen Run
• Border Ride
“There's a variety of old time and newer bluegrass music,” Neiderhiser said.
Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers promise a mix of “murder, mountains and moonshine” in their performance.
“In a good bluegrass concert, you're going to laugh, cry, love and fight, and you're going to kiss and make up,” said Joe Mullins, banjo player and vocalist.
Mullins, 48, has been playing music for about 30 years and has a career in broadcasting, working for several radio stations. The Radio Ramblers were “born out of necessity” about eight years ago when many of Mullins' radio clients started requesting live entertainment at his stations' live broadcasts. The band's instrumentation includes fiddle, banjo, mandolin, bass and guitars.
“Everybody in the band sings,” Mullins said. “We love vocal harmony.”
For the past four years, the band has performed shows between 80 and 100 days out of the year.
“Our goal in the modern bluegrass age is to be identifiable,” Mullins said. “We want folks to recognize when they hear us. We want folks to say, ‘Hey, that's the Radio Ramblers.'”
The band has earned accolades, such as the International Bluegrass Music Association's Emerging Artist of the Year, and they have performed at the Grand Ole Opry.
Mullins said he is heavily influenced by “the founding fathers of bluegrass,” like The Stanley Brothers and Earl Scruggs, while his younger counterparts in the band are inspired by regional musicians.
“We can be steeped in the bluegrass tradition, but we find some other pretty cool stuff, too, and make it our own,” he said.
Learn more about Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers at radioramblers.com.
The bluegrass festival circuit brought together the five members of Border Ride, a contemporary, upbeat outfit from Pennsylvania and Ohio with a chemistry that serves them well on-stage.
“The friendship is there, we have a great time every time we perform and we hit it off,” said guitarist Nelson Boosel, 60. “There's a magic there.”
Playing a range of instruments, like bass, dobro, guitars, banjo, mandolin and fiddles, Border Ride's members have earned industry recognition for their skills. Cathy Pearson placed at the Mid Atlantic Mandolin Championships as well as the Mayville Bluegrass Festival Mandolin Championships. Jimmy Metz was the Kent State Folk Festival banjo champion three years in a row, and Scott Pearson has placed in state and national mandolin and guitar contests. Bassist and vocalist Darla Evans has performed with Alison Krauss and Union Station, Claire Lynch, Lauri Lewis, The Lonesome River Band and Mountain Heart. Boosel took first place at an Oil City Bluegrass Festival songwriting competition.
The band is thrilled to come to the Laurel Highlands, Boosel said.
“It's just beautiful,” he said. “Pennsylvania is beautiful anyway, especially in the summer.”
Border Ride fills up its weekends with gigs in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Its music is influenced by “anybody who has good harmonies and good picking,” Boosel said. Their show contains high energy with well-blended vocals, he said.
“It's bluegrass like you've never heard before,” he said.
Learn more about Border Ride at borderride.com.
In addition to live entertainment, festivalgoers can also take part in a fish dinner on Friday and breakfast and a spaghetti dinner on Saturday. The concession stand will also serve food throughout the weekend, Neiderhiser said.
The festival's “cow plop” game will provide additional entertainment, Neiderhiser said. Attendees may purchase a square of grass in hopes the on-site cow “plops” there. Those with the winning square will receive half of the game proceeds.
For more information, visit laurelhighlandsbluegrass.com.
Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Market on Market’ to offer fresh foods in Ligonier
- Historical society honors Trib publisher, Fort Ligonier trustee
- New Florence church prepares for centennial celebration
- 7 Ligonier galleries partner to present early holiday shopping opportunity
- Fort Ligonier Days vendors vie for top booth awards at festival