Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fun Freetime: Minnesota Bluegrass and Old time Music Association Festival (St. Cloud MN)

Minnesota's premier Americana roots festival featuring bluegrass and old time music bands is celebrating its 40th year with its annual four-day acoustic and electric onslaught that appeals to a new generation of acoustic music lovers as well as those steeped Bill- Monroe-deep in tradition. With more than 25 bands, 35 hours of music, a wonderful marketplace, Kid Events, Workshops, Dances and more, the only place to be August 11-14  is at the beautiful rolling hills of New Richmond, MN., at El Rancho Manana (just 30 minutes west of St. Cloud), nestled  on 1200-acres of lovely scenery, including Minnesota's largest campground (208 acres) and riding stable!

The Minnesota Bluegrass and Old time Music Association (MBOTMA) annual four-day festival features headliners like:

See the full list of acts at

Tickets range from a 4-day pass at $85.00 in advance to $95.00 --with $10 discount for MBOTMA members -- plus 3,2 and 1 day rates. Teens are $10 for the entire weekend, or $10 at the gate for single days. Kids under 12 are FREE. Order advance tickets online at the MBOTMA website (  until August 5, or pay at the site.

Keepers of a Music Tradition that's Not Static -- and Year-Round Programming that Cross Generations and Educates

"The MBOTMA annual August Festival  always captures the latest groups who are expanding the boundaries again of America's rootsiest music as well as the bedrock traditionalists who can conjure up the past with a standard tune, or a breakneck solo on a fiddle, guitar, mandolin or banjo," says MBOTMA's new Executive Director, Arne Brogger. "As one of the longest organizations keeping the music viable in Minnesota, MBOTMA is proud to present this year's 40-year celebration."

In addition to the August MBOTMA Festival, the organization also produces and supports throughout the state:

  • The Winter Bluegrass Weekend (March)
  • Cabin Fever Festival (Duluth, April)
  • The Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff (June)
  • Minnesota Americana-Roots Music Contest (State Fair)
  • Harvest Jam (September)
  • Minnesota Bluegrass (the monthly member magazine)
  • The Grass Seed Academy (youth -- and beginner -- workshops)

"MBOTMA members and member bands, plus the public that supports our programming throughout he year, know how important it is to present and preserve festivals with this much range of old and new music," Brogger adds. "The immense popularity of contemporary groups like Trampled By Turtles, Per Near Sandstone, The Mammals, The Old Crow Medicine Show and other bands and artists like Chris Thile's Nickel Creek group, Punch Brothers, The Dillards, Mumford  & Sons, and others, proves again this is not a static music tradition but a vibrant, evolving work-in-progress that crosses generations."

As The New York Times noted of the new generation of players and artists who've built on, borrowed and re-invented the Bluegrass and Old Time traditions, the music endures because of its widespread and heartfelt appeal:  "In this decade more and more musicians under the age of 30 have picked up banjos and fiddles and hit a burgeoning circuit of festivals, small-town theaters and big-city nightclubs. They don’t want to play their parents’ music, but they do long for a tradition older than themselves, one with memorable melodies, deep stories and a boisterous beat."

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