Last summer I finally made it to Blueberry. I had heard about the festival for years and a friend of mine insisted I would be missing out if I didn’t experience the atmosphere of the largest and longest running bluegrass festival in western Canada. She was right!
I loved the music on the outdoor, indoor and the museum stage. It was great that I was able to get so close to the music. I was captivated by the jamming going on among the campers. I didn’t realize that some people come to the festival just to jam. I finally got up the nerve and joined in where I got to play with seasoned players. I even jam with some of the musicians I had seen on stage, and had a visit with them after.
Once I was jammed out I got a chance to check out everything else that was going on. Everyone was having a good time at the ukulele workshop. What looked like a fiddle convention was going on. A central fiddler was calling out tune after tune. There was a lot of music happening all around. I got something to eat, sat down at a picnic table in the middle of the festival site and had a good look around. From where I was sitting I could see the outdoor stage and beside it the outdoor lawn games hosted by the local kids. Right near the entrance to the Indoor stage was a craft tent where kids and parents were painting birdhouses. I could see the attraction for parents who were able to keep an eye on their kids while watching a show.
I followed a short path to the Pioneer Museum where I discover a scavenger hunt in progress, some short films playing in one of the buildings, a pancake breakfast and a Tea House. A highlight was finding the small stage on Legacy Street. Built inside a very large barn was a replica old town main street, and at the end of that little street was the stage. This intimate venue was an unexpected surprise for me. Some of the best musicians the festival had brought in were performing on this stage.
After the last show of the day ended at 10 pm I was swept up in the rush of people headed to the dance. Calvin Vollrath had an 8 piece country band firing out the tunes on his magic fiddle, they had the whole room moving for hours. I’m not much of a dancer but I sure enjoyed watching the night unfold. It was so much fun!
I can wait to get back this summer to see Ricky Skaggs and his eight piece bluegrass band Kentucky Thunder. See you there!
It's all about the Jamming!
Jamming is at the heart of the festival. Players come from far and wide to jam at Blueberry. From hosted circles with experienced jam leaders and performing band members, dedicated jamming tents open 24 hours, and traditional parking lot pickin' in the campsites, Blueberry has your jamming needs covered.
We are pleased to announce we have 2 designated host bands to facilitate jams this year. Prairies Edge from Calgary and Backroad Stringband from Northwestern Alberta. These Jam Ambassadors are enthusiastic and ready to jam with you no matter what your level of experience.
The hosted jams will take place in the NBCMS (Northern Bluegrass Circle Music Society) Jam Tent, The Blueberry Patio, the Pavilion and other selected locations to be announced.
If you're on the festival site Wednesday evening, the jamming starts with Bluegrass 10l. On Thursday after the BBQ and concert, check out the NBCMS Jam Tent. On Friday and Saturday nights, join the jam in the Blueberry Patio. This is only a few of the jams we have planned. There will be many more jamming opportunities available throughout the weekend.
Bring your instruments, join the circle or just sit back, watch and let the magic of jamming captivate you. We know you'll have some good clean fun!
Put on Your Dancing Shoes and Get ready for Some Fun!!!
We at Blueberry never want the music to end… so last year, after Main Stage ended for the evening, we held a country music-inspired dance. We expected a few late-night revellers to show up and tap their toes – instead, we got a crowd of 500 who danced into the wee hours! Who knew everyone wanted to finish off their evenings dancing!
Because it was such a big hit, we are holding it again in 2018 – bigger and better than ever! So, on Friday night, pack your dancing shoes, line up a partner and head over to the indoor Stage where you will find the incredibly talented Calvin Vollrath & Country Swing all tuned up and ready to go.
Calvin is a natural talent on the fiddle. His accomplishments include the Grand North American Old Tyme Champion, he has received the Canadian Grand Masters Lifetime Achievement Award, started Camp Calvin, composed 5 fiddle tunes for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and has over 65 Albums… and yes, he will bring his Country Swing band to the Blueberry Bluegrass Festival this year to play the dance. Make it to the festival on Friday night to catch some great shows before dancing away what’s left of the evening.
If you need a break from dancing wander on over to the Hospitality Tent, order a cold beer, sit back and enjoy some high-calibre jamming going on under that canopy. Stay a while to pick a tune or just listen to the late night jammers before heading back to the dance. We don’t want you to go hungry, you’ll find a delicious snack at the late-night concession.
Try to get some sleep because we’re going to do it all again on Saturday… an even bigger day of entertainment and activities followed by Kayla Hotte and her Rodeo Pals country dance.