Fans of bluegrass music who have enjoyed the concert series at Oakdale Park will be saying hello to a festival with new name (well, sort of new) and saying goodbye to an old friend next weekend in Glen Rose.
Glen Rose, which was declared the Bluegrass Capital of Texas in 1982 by act of the Texas Legislature, will see the return of the Glen Rose Bluegrass Jamboree Festival, Oct. 5-7, with performances starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
The festival had been named the Paluxy River Bluegrass Festival for the last couple of years, but will now return to its original moniker.
A bluegrass band that has been performing here every year since the city’s first bluegrass festival in 1972, Joe Bass & the Double Mountain Boys, will be making its final appearance. Bass, who is from the Lipan area, has announced he will be retiring from playing in concerts.
The rest of the lineup includes Kody Norris, Special Consensus, Salt Creek, Philip Ferguson & Texas True, Mark Phillips & IIIrd Generation, the award-winning Bluegrass Outlaws, Downtown String Band, Paluxy Pickers and Cedar Junction.
“We’re just excited to be celebrating 45 years of bluegrass this year at Oakdale,” said Kristen Gibson, events coordinator for the Glen Rose Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Each night, there will be a band you can only see that night. We try to make it where we have some returning bands, and add new ones to keep it fresh and exciting, to offer different sounds.”
Festivities start on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Oakdale Park with a beans and cornbread supper hosted by the Paluxy River Bluegrass Association, open to the public and free of charge.
Tickets for the festival will be $15 on Thursday, $20 for Saturday and $20 for Sunday. Three-day passes can be purchased for $45 and kids age 16 and under will be admitted free of charge.
For tickets, call the Glen Rose CVB at 254-897-3081.
“We really want families to attend, so we make it possible for a lot of people to come who have teenagers,” Gibson said of the free admission for those 16 and under.
Oakdale Park Manager Michael Leamons — a longtime fan of bluegrass music — is again looking forward to the event.
“It’s our biggest festival of the year. I’m excited about it,” said Leamons, who pointed out that the stage at Oakdale has been renovated with new carpet installed and fresh paint applied. “I love bluegrass music. I’ve been a fan of bluegrass since about 1985.”
Leamons said four of his seven children play bluegrass music with various instruments. Two are fiddle players, one plays banjo and one plays guitar.
Leamons said his appreciation for bluegrass began when he started listening to bluegrass on a radio program that was broadcast out of Tulsa, Oklahoma on Sunday evenings when he lived in a town called Driftwood near Austin.
As a sort of warmup event, Oakdale Park will also be the site of the 7th annual GospelGrass Festival, Saturday, Sept. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 1. It will be free and open to the public. The concert performances will be 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.