What's Happening

Behind the Curtain with the Bluegrass Festival

sam bush

Discover what goes into planning Denison's annual Bluegrass Festival.

An interview with Denison Bluegrass Ensemble's Instructor, Casey Cook, sharing a behind the scene look at the upcoming Denison Bluegrass Festival taking place on March 3rd and 4th in Swasey Chapel.

What is the preparation like for the Denison Bluegrass Festival?

“It is a year-long process from artist and music selection. As soon as the festival is over, we begin thinking about dates, artists, and the kinds of music that we will play for the concert. This year is a little different with the involvement of the Vail Series helping financially support the festival, especially with Sam Bush. The Friday Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Rambler's 7:00 Swasey Chapel concert is free and open to the public. The Saturday night, 7:00 Swasey Chapel Sam Bush concert tickets are $15 as available. Please call 740-587-6557 or email vailseries@denison.edu.”

Why were these artists selected?

“Let's start with Larry Sparks. Myself and Andy Carlson found It is always very important to showcase the architects of bluegrass music and Larry Sparks certainly falls into this category. We try and bring the cream of the crop. The top-tier bluegrass musicians that have been performing this music for a long time. Generally, like most genre, whether it is classical music, the Renaissance period, or the Baroque period, and so forth, bluegrass is like that and bluegrass is defined by generations, and Larry Sparks is one of the last real living legends who was a part of the first generation of bluegrass musicians.

Larry Sparks started playing in the mid-60s with the bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley and then eventually Larry Sparks started his band. To be able to have this kind of bluegrass lineage is pretty phenomenal. Similarly, Sam Bush is a part of a new kind of bluegrass music defined as new-grass. The whole goal is that we are trying to bring together both traditional and the new-wave of bluegrass music to the festival.”

Posted Date 
Monday, March 13, 2017