Bluegrass sounds will fill Niles Riverfront Park

Published 3:33 am Thursday, June 2, 2005

By By EMILY DREITZLER / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Bring out the banjo and tune your guitar! The third annual Niles Bluegrass Festival, being held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 3-5, promises to be three days full of food, crafts, fun, and great live bluegrass music.
The free Niles Bluegrass Festival will take place at Riverfront Park, in downtown Niles. Live music will be performed in the Riverfront Amphitheatre on the banks of the beautiful St. Joseph River. Open mic will kick off the festival on the mainstage at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 3. A performance by Leon Lyons will follow at 4 p.m., continuing with a variety of different performers all weekend long.
"Thirteen bands will be featured this year," said Entertainment Chair Tom Majerek.
Bands performing throughout the weekend include Twenty Three, Old School Freight Train, Cornmeal, Gold Mine Pickers, Deadwood, Rum Dummies, Up Hill Climb, Balos Family Singers, Deep Fried Pickle Project, Hardtimes, Schlitz Creek, Wood N' Nickel and Special Consensus.
All day Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, the Bluegrass Festival will feature a picker's tent and anybody with an instrument is welcome to come down and jam.
Also on Saturday and Sunday, workshops will be featured where the public is welcome to bring their instruments, and learn some tricks of the trade from some of this year's performers.
Each workshop focuses on a certain musical specialization, including banjo, guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, and bass. The workshops will open at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, with Leon Lyons, specializing in the dulcimer, and will continue throughout the day.
On Sunday, the workshops begin at 1 p.m. with Rick Schopok, holding a playing in jams and groups, and will end with the last workshop beginning at 5:30 p.m., featuring Tres Nugent, specializing in the bass.
Exciting new attractions will be featured at the Bluegrass Festival this year including "a free raffle and camping down at the river so people can bring down their R.V.s," said Majerek.
The musical instruments up for grabs at this year's raffle include a guitar and a starter banjo kit that includes a banjo with various accessories. To be entered in the raffle, all you have to do is fill out a questionnaire at the Bluegrass Festival.
The on-site camping, sponsored by Boy Scouts Troop 550, is open to the public. R.V.s, campers, and tents are all welcome. Other attractions include food, arts and crafts, a pancake breakfast, kiddie rides, an open jam gospel session, along with many more fun events for the whole family to enjoy.
Admission to the festival is free. "We had a good turnout last year and it's a growing event so we hope for the same this year." said Majerek.
Come down and enjoy three days of music on the banks of the St. Joe River, in historic downtown Niles.
For information regarding camping, contact Robert at 683-3645. If you would like more information or a detailed schedule of the bands performing at the festival, you can visit the official website of the Niles Bluegrass Festival at "The website is all-new and year-round now and will make it easier for people to contact us." Majerek stated. You may also call the Four Flags Area Council on Tourism at 684-7444.