The Midnight Roses were the feature performance at the Bluegrass Festival on Saturday evening. Liza Holder on guitar

Bluegrass musicians perform at festival

The 18th Annual Summerland Bluegrass Festival was held on June 7, 8 and 9 at the Summerland Rodeo Grounds.

The 18th Annual Summerland Bluegrass Festival was held on June 7, 8 and 9 at the Summerland Rodeo Grounds.

Denise Trudeau, president of the Summerland Bluegrass Group said they changed the format of the festival this year to include workshops and a featured band.

The Midnight Roses, from Swift Current Saskatchewan performed on Saturday evening from 7 to 9 p.m.

Inspired by old time country, folk and bluegrass, these four young women come together to create something truly unique.

The combination of powerful vocals and stunning harmonies bring a fresh sound to the music scene.

They are Saskatchewan’s “next big thing,” according to industry professionals from across North America. They were on site to sign CDs and chat with festival goers following the performance.

Over the course of the weekend there was still plenty of open mic time, where people signed up and had an opportunity to sing and play together on stage.

Jam sessions were also scheduled. Many different workshops were offered at no extra cost.

Lawrence Trudeau was instrumental in starting the Festival. A bursary in memory of his name and in respect for all that he has done to promote the music, is given out each year.

“One of my father’s visions was to infuse a little bit of bluegrass in everyone and he was always so eager to help the young people and to welcome them into the bluegrass family. I know in my heart he would be pleased with our new format,” Denise Trudeau said.

“We want to draw more local people as well as invite the younger folks. We need to encourage and invite younger people in or we will lose the tradition.”

The bluegrass family includes old and young, Trudeau said. The older generation teaches the traditional bluegrass to the younger ones, who then put a new spin on it and make it their own. This is often referred to as “newgrass.”

“We need the young people to keep it going,” she said. “In the U.S., bluegrass is very popular with the young folks, but not here. It is a matter of educating people to show them what it’s all about in order to have it grow.”

The festival drew people from around the province, as well as from Alberta, Saskatchewan and the United States.

Moving forward, the Summerland Bluegrass would like to make the festival more of a community event, inviting in newcomers, along with those who regularly attend. This will ensure that bluegrass does not die out, as well as benefitting Summerland’s economy.