Well, ok. Not exactly. Skaggs and his Kentucky Thunder will be the headliners for this favorite annual event, the Dutchess County Fair, which takes place from August 21 to 26 at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds on Rte. 9 in Rhinebeck. This year’s fair features the First Annual Dutchess County Fair Bluegrass Festival, an all-day event on Saturday, August 25, the same day that Skaggs will appear at the Main Grandstand. Skaggs is set to perform two shows - at 3:00 and 8:00. The grandstand will be free for both shows, while reserved seats will be sold for $12 in advance or $15 day-of-show (not included in the price of general admission to the fair). The bluegrass festival is from 10am until 2pm in the Food Court Tent, and from 2pm until about 10pm in the Talent Tent. The real WOW factor of the day happens in the Food Court and Talent Tents, where the bands appearing are none other than the much loved HVBA bands – Too Blue, No Brakes, Cold Feat and Blue Plate Special!

There is a well known urban legend in which a man who buys an old faded painting at a garage sale for 10 dollars and upon removing the painting from the gorgeous wooden frame, discovers an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. The stuff of legends can still be had here in the twenty-first century. The thrill of the hunt, reinforced by occasional rewards, can lead to one’s passion. Although few and far between, the payoffs can be great.

Città di Castello (PG) Italy

In a land where musical life consists mostly of tea room classics or euro-trash disco, the likelihood of a bluegrass following can only be a dream. Until one wakes up one day to find that there is a secret underground following, a quest for the pleasure of the high lonesome sound exists even here in the low Appenines of central Italy.

It's time for you to pre-order your 2007 tees and baseball hats. This year, all items must be pre-paid. You will be able to pick them up at the jams or at "Bluegrass Between the Bridges" in early September. Or, for an additional cost of $3.00, we will mail the item(s) to you.

This year you have a choice of short, long or tank top shirts in two different colors. There are men's and women's styles, although women may want to order the men's tees, if they prefer.

Northern Lights performed on the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage on April 30. Their one-hour performance is archived on www.kennedy-center.org/millenium.  Click on archives, type in Northern Lights, and enjoy their show.

After a pleasant late afternoon drive under sunlit blue skies spread above the spring green grass I arrived at the Westchester Bluegrass Clubhouse in Purdys, to find Wayne Fugate meddling with an octave mandolin. “Just playing this chord is worth it,” he said with a grin as he strummed. “Banjo players shudder when they hear this”. 

Wayne, who brought with him “an obscene number of mandolins” as well as the obscenely talented Mike Sassano and his own entourage of mandolins, a mandola and a mandocello were joined by Larry Cohen, a God-like figure playing electric bass who together gave listeners a glimpse into mandolin heaven for an evening.

Jamming outside the Clubhouse on the lakeshore with Mike Burns, Ben Freed and the Westchester bluegrass contingent provided the ideal start to the festivities which then moved inside where both the music and the food were hot and tasty.

An open mic featured HVBA member band “No Brakes” as the first act with Frank Kara exhibiting his own brand of mandolin madness, Eric “Babicz” Spalding and Gary Di Giovanni, “The Banjo Mantovani”.

More fine acts followed and displayed musical prowess of a high degree but then the moment we had packed the Clubhouse for had arrived. It was time… to go mad!

The mandolin madness began with a cosmic-mando brain buzz moment derived from the fiddle tune “Big Sciota” being played not only in Purdys at the Clubhouse, but also by another band at a “safe and undisclosed location” in Idaho – AT THE SAME TIME!!! Truly an amazing mandolinificent event which then built in intensity through fiddle tune medleys, a piece by Bach - and Bill Monroe of course, jazz standards, a Randy Newman song and finally blew it all sky high through the roof with a Buck White tune that you couldn’t believe could actually go any faster – ‘til it DID !!!

Mandolin madness – like Mad Cow Disease with 8 strings attached.

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