The final Paluxy River Bluegrass Festival was a dandy.
But don’t worry, bluegrass is going to remain alive and well in Glen Rose — which was, after all, declared as the bluegrass capital of Texas in 1982 by the Texas Legislature.
The festival held at Oakdale Park in Glen Rose, last Thursday through Saturday, sold more than 400 tickets in all, organizers said. That number doesn’t include all attendees, because children ages 16 and under were admitted free of charge.
“Someone from the Paluxy River Bluegrass Association told me it was the biggest crowd they’ve seen in a while, for a spring festival,” said Kirsten Gibson, events coordinator for the Glen Rose Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It was a fantastic experience all the way around. I got to meet new people, and meet people who have been coming to the festival for years. They’re really looking forward to the fall festival."
That fall festival is set for Oct. 5-7, again at Oakdale Park, and music fans can be sure it will offer more of the same quality bluegrass performers. The festival’s name will change, however, to the Bluegrass Jamboree Festival. Bluegrass festivals first were staged in Glen Rose in 1972, in what was then billed as the Bluegrass Jamboree.
“The level of talent was amazing,” Gibson said. “A lot of these musicians played multiple instruments with ease, and it was just awesome to listen to.”
Last weekend featured a band from Oklahoma — Mark Phillips and the IIIrd Generation — that showed bluegrass even reaches the younger generation. That band featured a talented 17-year-old female fiddler.
“She was burning it up,” said Gibson, who noted that the experience opened her musical interest to a whole new genre. “She was on fire. All the bands were excellent to watch, and the music was fantastic.”
A staple of the local bluegrass scene based out of Lipan, Joe Bass & Double Mountain, performed once again and led off the opening-day schedule.
Other bands that performed this year included Blue Country Grass from Austin, High Fidelity from Tennessee, Springstreet Bluegrass from Oklahoma, and the Neverwere Brothers from Cedar Hill.
Gibson announced that a free concert series is scheduled on Saturdays starting June 3, continuing through Sept. 2. The concerts will offer bands with a variety of musical styles, ranging from country, blues, red dirt, adult contemporary, R&B, Celtic, reggae, pop and rock and roll.
June’s lineup includes the Shane Watson Band (Texas country, red dirt, singer-songwriter based) June 3; the K3 Sisters (pop) on June 10; bluegrass on June 17, and Mike Wissel & the Pawn Shop Pistols (danceable red dirt, Texas country, and Americana). The lineup could be subject to change, Gibson noted.