Coombs bluegrass festival this weekend

Hailed as the oldest bluegrass festival in B.C., this weekend’s event in Coombs features the likes of The Sweet Lowdown, High Rise Lonesome and Phillips and IIIrd Generation.

Flash in the Pan entertain at last year’s Coombs Bluegrass Festival.

The oldest bluegrass festival in B.C. takes place this weekend, and it’s garnering more attention than ever with over twice as many hits on the website as last year.

Although the website was only completed in February of last year it saw about 4,800 hits and the festival last July saw record breaking numbers.

This year there has already been nearly 11,000 hits on the website.

Organizer Linda Thorburn is sure the website is helping spread the word.

“I’m positive it is,” she said. “And if you think that if everybody who looked at it brought somebody….”

This year the festival has nine celebrated bluegrass bands coming from far away places like Chicago, Illinois and Norman, Oklahoma, as well as Alberta and Vancouver Island.

Thorburn said these bands will be different from last year, with one exception, and will also be different than the groups heard earlier this month at the Lighthouse Bluegrass Festival. 

“Bluegrass is kind of on the rise right now and there was enough bands to do that,” she said. “There’s enough for everybody.”

The two bands coming from the United States, Mark Phillips and IIIrd Generation and Special Consensus, will be putting on the workshops this year, giving bluegrass enthusiasts some real traditional training, Thorburn said.

This year there will be a plethora of vendors, with everything from food to crafts.

“We’ve just had tons of them wanting to come,” Thorburn said. “You name it, everything under the sun.”

There are also some great raffle prizes this year, including a draw for cedar folding chairs from Weatherwise Industries and an Art Lutherie Guitar donated by Darrel Lyons of Decourcy Island.

Although a full house saw some campers turned away last year, Thorburn said this year there will be extra space and no one will be turned away.

Thorburn is trying to compile a history of pictures from past Coombs Bluegrass events and invites anyone with photos, especially older ones to email them to info@coombsbluegrass.com.

The festival takes place July 29,30 and 31 at the Coombs Rodeo Grounds. A weekend pass is $75, $65 for seniors and students and day passes are also available. For more information visit www.coombsbluegrass.com.

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