Cheney Free Press -


Staff Reporter 

Blue Waters festival continues summer tradition with new faces


The Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival is returning to Medical Lake, Aug. 8-10, at Waterfront Park, with a lineup that features several new faces.

One of the headliners for this year’s festival is Milk Drive. Kevin Brown, music director for the festival, said the band is “a bit more on the edge, younger and progressive.” Comprised of Brian Beken, Noah Jeffries, Dennis Ludiker and Matt Mefford, “Milk Drive” will play Friday, at 9 p.m. and Saturday, at 2 p.m..

Another headliner for this year’s festival is “The Rambling Rooks,” a group from North Carolina made up of Ronnie Bowman, Don Rigsby and Kenny Smith. The band will play a set at 4 p.m., Saturday and then later that evening at 9 p.m.

Brown, who has been involved with the festival since 2002, said he tries to keep the lineup fresh from year to year.

One of the unique acts for this year’s festival will be the Bill Monroe Tribute band. The performers for the band include John Reischman on mandolin, Greg Spatz on fiddle, Kelly Bogan on banjo, Jon Faddis on vocals, Dave Hackwith on bass and Dale Adkins on guitar.

Smith will return to the stage, Sunday at 2 p.m., to do a dual performance with Reischman. According to Brown, the festival presented the idea for a duet between Smith and Reischman, who jumped at the chance.

“Musicians, especially those who specialize in instruments like to play with someone they respect,” Brown said.

Other bands from the Northwest who will perform at the festival include “North Country Bluegrass,” “The Blackberry Bushes” and “Truth North.”

Brown said musicians have interacted with the crowd at previous festivals and would not be surprised if some of the performers jammed with the audience.

“Bluegrass breaks barriers between musicians and the audience so it’s not surprising to see them out in the crowd,” Brown said. “The music doesn’t stop when the stage lights go out.”

Brown said people from all over the Spokane area, as well as folks across the nation come to the festival.

In addition to the music, there will be the Blue Waters Ru Searson Memorial Youth Camp where musicians age 20 under will learn to play instruments and receive vocal instruction. Students will be placed into bands where they will learn to perform music with others.

Brown said Milk Drive would provide instruction and coaching to bands on Friday. The student bands will perform on stage that afternoon.

The festival will kick off with an Open Mic session at 4 p.m. on Friday. Brown added that he appreciates the event’s sponsors Northern Quest Casino and Inland Bluegrass association, as well as the volunteers who support the festival.

Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival ticket prices

• Camping pass — $30 ($32.04 with service fee)

• Friday pass — $15 ($16.52 with service fee)

• Saturday pass — $30 ($32.04 with service fee)

• Sunday pass — $25 ($26.87 with service fee)

• Kids Camp — $35 ($37.22 with service fee)

• Advanced Weekend Pass — $50 ($52.74 with

service fee)

Al Stover can be reached at


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