Pickin' and grinnin': Bluegrass festival draws crowds from around world

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By Amber Coulter

Wailing fiddles and warbling banjos are expected to return to Vine Grove for the 14th time Thursday through Saturday.

The annual Vine Grove Bluegrass Festival returns, drawing music lovers from throughout the world to Optimist Park on Knox Avenue.

Max Ewart, one of the organizers, remembers approaching Vine Grove City Council members with other music lovers 14 years ago with the idea for a bluegrass festival.

At the time, he couldn’t have predicted how much the festival would thrive to draw visitors to Hardin County from Tennessee, Ohio, Japan, England and various other states and nations.

“It kind of put Vine Grove on the map,” he said.

The festival kicks off at Thursday with a drawing for the annual band scramble.

The scramble consists of drawing musicians of various instruments to randomly form bands. Members then have a limited time to decide on three songs for a performance and compete against each other in a show for visitors.

The event tends to be popular with musicians and crowds, Ewart said.

“They all have fun with it,” he said.

Many people like the old-time twang of bluegrass music and the clean, family fun that the festival brings. They also enjoy playing together, sometimes all night, Ewart said.

Ewart also enjoys bluegrass, though he doesn’t play any instruments.

“I can’t even play the radio,” he said. “That’s how bad I am.”

This year’s anticipated acts include Old Friends Get Together, Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain and Leroy Troy and the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band are also among the highlights.

Three-day tickets are $40 in advance at any local Cecilian Bank or $55 at the gate. Thursday-only and Friday-only tickets are $12 each. Saturday-only tickets are $20 each.

Contact Amber Coulter at 270-505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.