The sounds of banjos, guitars, violins and even cellos could be heard halfway across the courthouse square in downtown Prescott, Arizona on June 25th and 26th — loud enough for the hundreds of folks sitting in lawn chairs or picnicking on the grass to enjoy.
This year's attendance at the Bluegrass Festival seems huge, and, according to Bluegrass director board member Scott Currey, it really is the biggest turnout the festival has seen so far. Thanks to volunteer committee members like Currey, who accept the challenge of raising the $25,000 or so needed for the annual event, the festival is free for all who attend.
“Every year we try to step it up,” Currey said. “We were really fortunate [Saturday] night to have Blue Highway come,” said Currey. “There were people from New Mexico and California here, just to come hear them play.”
Blue Highway came all the way from Nashville to play in the festival.
The stage was set up on Gurley Street, but the sounds of bluegrass didn’t stop there. At the opposite side of the courthouse square, local bands from Prescott and surrounding communities joined in the festivities with their own musical renditions of famous bluegrass tunes.
One local band, “Buffalo Nickel,” did an impromptu performance of “Steel Wheel,” attracting listeners who were passing by.
Buffalo Nickel dabbles in other genres, like classic rock and country, but vocalist Freda Boop has a special love for bluegrass, describing it as “music for the soul.”
She went on to say, “You always have a friend when you go to a bluegrass festival because you all know all the songs.”
Buffalo Nickel includes Freda Boop’s husband, Mike Boop, on mandolin; Mike Thorsen on cello, Monte Niel on guitar, and Gordy Acri on banjo.
Assuming the fundraising efforts are successful next year, Prescott will be hearing those well-known tunes plus new originals next year, performed by locals and newcomers alike.