First Bluegrass Festival kicks off this weekend

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Don't be surprised if you hear the sound of good old-time American bluegrass music from Riverfront Park in Niles this weekend.
The "first ever" Niles Bluegrass Festival, sponsored by the Riverfest Committee and local merchants, will be held at the Riverfront Park in Niles from Friday, June 27, to Sunday, June 29.
It will feature American acoustic roots music, and musicians will be using instruments such as guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and bass.
There is no admission fee.
Majerek and others have spent several months getting the festival on its feet which, if successful, will become an annual event here in Niles.
He said some of the groups performing will be playing traditional bluegrass music, while others will be playing variations of traditional American music.
In addition to bluegrass, the festival will feature gospel music on Saturday and Sunday morning, he said.
Majerek gives credit to local merchants and businesses who have helped make the festival become a reality.
Businesses such as Wings Etc., Campbell Ford, Coldwell Banker, NCP Coating and others have contributed anywhere from between $400 to $700, money that has been used to pay for the acts that will be playing at the festival.
Although the festival is new to Niles, Majerek said the word is starting to spread and people are getting excited about the upcoming event.
He said people have told him they haven't been to a bluegrass festival in ages and that they are really looking forward to it.
Although Majerek and Rick Schpock, a "Time Travellers Blues Band" member, are responsible for the festival music, Majerek said Riverfest is taking care of the concession stands, portable toilets and other practical sides to organizing a festival.
It isn't just people in Niles, however, who are excited about the festival.
Majerek said the bands who will be play have been very enthusiastic about coming to Niles.
The festival will primarily be a music festival but will also feature a pancake breakfast.
All profits from the event will go toward sponsoring The Niles Riverfest 2003, held in August.
If the festival is successful, Majerek said they are planning to expand next year's event with kiddy games.
He also said people are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs.
Alcohol is not allowed at Riverfront Park, but the Eagles Lodge will have a beer tent open to the public, he said.
For more information about the festival call Majerek at (269) 683-6912.
2003 Niles Bluegrass Festival schedule
Friday, June 27.
4 p.m. Bunny's Brother (Folk Rock)
6 p.m. Deadwood (Bluegrass)
7:10 p.m. Twenty Three (Bluegrass)
8:20 p.m. Deadwood
9:30 p.m. Twenty Three
Saturday, June 28
8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Pancake Breakfast
10 a.m. Balos Family Gospel Singers
Noon Wood N' Nickel (Bluegrass)
1:05 p.m. Apple Blossom (Bluegrass)
2:10 p.m. Twenty Three
3:15 p.m. Hot Toe Mitty (Gypsy-Grass)
4:20 p.m. Corn Meal (Progressive Bluegrass)
5:25 p.m. Apple Blossom
6:30 p.m. Twenty Three
7:35 Hot Toe Mitty
8:40 p.m. Corn Meal
9:45 p.m. Wood N' Nickel
Sunday, June 29
8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Pancake Breakfast
11 a.m. The Balos Family Singers
1 p.m. Time Travellers String Band (Americana Music)
2:10 p.m. Fiddlin' Roger Osborne Band (Bluegrass)
3:20 p.m. Time Travellers String Band
4:30 p.m. Fiddlin' Roger Osborne Band
5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Steppin' In It (American Roots Music)

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