Six years ago a group of like minded Bluegrass musicians based in Ipswich decided that they were tired of always having to travel considerable distances if they wanted to broaden their horizons to hear other bands, and decided to put on an event locally, and from this the Orwell Bluegrass Festival was born.
The first year attracted around 100 musicians but the ball had started rolling and enthusiasm for something bigger and better encouraged them to seek out bands from near and afar, including several from abroad, and they now aim to host about 20 bands at this years event. “It has amazed us how much support we have from other people who obviously like the music but are also unwilling to travel hundreds of miles, and we now have a very healthy local attendance as well as those who are prepared to travel from all over England.” Said one of the organisers, Ralph Keeble.
As the festival has evolved it has become evident that there is a need to broaden the base of the music on offer and this year, a conscious effort has been made to cater for those who like the Old Time style which tends to be more traditional and has a lot of support.
“We anticipate having in the region of 500 people attending from all over the country with the common purpose of playing music, listening to others and enjoying themselves” Says Ralph, “And with this in mind, food, drinks, and beer will be available at very reasonable prices to try to ensure that it will happen.”
There are two marquees that will cater for the Bluegrass and Old Timers and it is intended that there will be concerts on Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday afternoon with a Gospel session in the morning.
The event spans a period of three days and the majority of those attending will stay either in tents or caravans which gives them a great opportunity to jam with other musicians, or to listen to their music and to make new friends – the weekend ticket prices includes the cost of camping.
The Orwell Bluegrass Festival runs from Thursday 10th until Monday 14th May at the Hallow Tree Camp Site, Ipswich. For more information you can visit the website at www.orwellbluegrass.co.uk.