The 38th annual Coombs Bluegrass Festival starts this Friday at the Coombs Rodeo Grounds

The 38th annual Coombs Bluegrass Festival starts this Friday at the Coombs Rodeo Grounds

Coombs Bluegrass Festival starts this weekend

About 1,500 people expected to attend throughout the long weekend

Get ready for a weekend of toe-tapping bluegrass music at the 38th annual Coombs Bluegrass Festival.

The bluegrass festival is returning this weekend to the Coombs Rodeo Grounds (2601 Alberni Hwy.)

Event co-ordinator for Coombs Hilliers Recreation and Community Organization Sue O’Hare said she thinks the Coombs Bluegrass Festival is one of the oldest bluegrass festivals in Canada.

O’Hare said they’re expecting about 1,500 people to attend throughout the weekend, but they would love to see more.

She added that with the SunFest Country Music Festival and the Filberg Festival on the same weekend, the Coombs Bluegrass Festival’s attendance has been down in recent years.

Since the festival is a smaller festival, O’Hare said people enjoy coming because they get to see old friends that they only get to see once a year at the festival.

“People look forward to coming because they’re going to see George from Edmonton and so-and-so from Victoria,” O’Hare said.

The 2016 lineup includes Bluegrass Fever (Chemainus), Old Time Fiddlers (Coombs),  Thunder & Rain (Golden, CO) and Little Saturday (Tofino).

O’Hare said there is music playing 24 hours a day, whether it’s actual performances or just members from the audience playing their own instruments.

“Ninety per cent of the people (attending) are musicians,” O’Hare said. “There’s music throughout the night. The bands play with the everyday audience.”

O’Hare said people in the audience come from all over the place for the festival.

“We would really like to see more locals. More than 50 per cent of the audience comes from somewhere else,” she said.

On Saturday, O’Hare said there are three workshops; a slow pitch (helping people to learn to play bluegrass) at 1 p.m., mandolin at 2:15 p.m. and harmony at 3:30 p.m.

The festival starts Friday (July 29) at 6 p.m. and goes until 8 p.m. on Sunday (July 31).

Admission is $30 for Friday, $40 for Saturday, $30 for Sunday or $75 for a weekend pass. Dry camping is $15 per night per unit.

For more information, call 250-927-2747 or 250-954-3416 or visit www.chrco.org.