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Bluegrass Festival April 15-17 Radisson Hotel Duluth

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El Niño is rocking our Minnesota spring this year and we expect the Cabin Fever Festival in Duluth to bring it in earlier than ever. The weekend of April 15th through 17th will once again bring warm winds, the ice going out from the Lake Superior harbor, and wonderful bluegrass and old-time stringband music to downtown Duluth. This annual, three day, indoor music event is produced by the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA) and will feature bluegrass, old-time stringband, and related forms of acoustic music from  Art Stevenson & Highwater, The Woodpicks, The Bootlickers, the O’Neil Family Band, The Fish Heads, Border Stone, Def Lester, The Biscuit Boys, Riverside Bog Stompers, and Timbre Junction. There will be concerts, draw bands, open stage, workshops, and jam sessions around the clock. In addition, Duluth’s Tamarack Dance Association will be providing an exciting new addition to the festival this year - Friday and Saturday night old-time dances.
The festival begins at the Radisson Harborview Hotel on Friday evening at 6:00 PM with “Friday Night Live,” an evening of on-stage open-mic,  plus a stage show from both The Bootlickers and The Woodpicks. Old-time dancing starts at 7:30 PM across the street at the Avalon Educational Institute with music from The Bootlickers and dances taught and called by Terrence Smith (beginners and singles are welcome so don’t be afraid to jump in and get your feet wet). And of course there will be plenty of late night jam sessions after hours back at the Radisson.
On Saturday afternoon there will be workshops throughout the day starting at 10:00 AM, a draw band competition starting with the draw at 2:30 PM, and stage shows starting at 11:45 AM with the Riverside Bog Stompers, Border Stone, Timbre Junction, Def Lester, and Art Stevenson & Highwater. Workshops will include a band workshop from Highwater, vocal workshop from The Woodpicks, a clogging workshop from members of The Bootlickers, plus instrument workshops for banjo, guitar, resonator guitar, mandolin, upright bass, and fiddle. The draw band competition is a much loved throwing together of people who don’t really know each other, by drawing names out of a hat,  to perform 3 to 4 songs they may or may not know, on the main stage of the festival just before the evening show. If you are a picker, whether beginner, intermediate, or expert (it just doesn’t matter), you can sign up to be in a draw band. And for the kids there will be face painting and some coloring time in the afternoon too (you bring the kids, the festival provides the materials).
The Saturday dinner hour brings more music your way across the street at The Incline Station. From 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM there will be food, drink and music from The Fish Heads and the Biscuit Boys. The Station has great food and now they will have great music, so we can all recharge our batteries with some bluegrass burgers and beverages without missing any music. The highlight of the weekend will be the Saturday night concert back at the Radisson at 7:00 PM with The Woodpicks, Art Stevenson & Highwater, and The Bootlickers. You’ll also want to catch some of the Saturday night old-time dance across the street at the Avalon Educational Institute with music from the O’Neil Family Band and dance caller Rina Rossi.
As Sunday rolls around and brings the festival to a close, we can’t go without some gospel music. Gospel has been an integral part of bluegrass music since it began, and on Sunday morning beginning at 9:00 AM in the Radisson main ballroom you can enjoy a free gospel show with Art Stevenson & Highwater, followed by a gospel jam session for all.