Cheney Free Press -

Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival turns 16


August 3, 2017

Besides the music at Blue Waters, there are numerous activities that engage all ages.

One of the driving forces of bluegrass music in the Inland Northwest reaches a milestone birthday in 2017.

Medical Lake's Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 16th season as the Inland Northwest's flagship bluegrass event and takes place at Waterfront Park Aug. 11-13.

Since it's inception in 2002, Blue Waters has grown to become one of the largest and most-respected summertime bluegrass festivals in the Northwest. Held every August under a canopy of Ponderosa pines on the shores of Medical Lake, this weekend-long musical extravaganza has brought some of the biggest names in the world of bluegrass to the Inland Northwest.

In addition to the three days of main stage shows, Blue Waters also offers a Youth Camp as well as workshops covering all the primary bluegrass instruments as well as bluegrass harmony singing.

The workshops are led by the headliner bands and are geared towards all levels.

On-site camping is available, which is a big part of any bluegrass festival. After-hours jamming goes on long after the main stage has shut down, and it is not uncommon to see the headliner performers playing in jams with regular festival goers.

The full weekend schedule is available at Advance weekend passes are $55 in advance and $60 at the gate. Individual day passes are also available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Children 12 and under are free.

The 2017 festival lineup continues the tradition of celebrating the wide spectrum of roots and branches that make up the world of bluegrass – young and old, progressive and traditional, duos, trios and full bands, 10 in all, according to a festival news release.

Those acts include:

Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley: Rob Ickes is one of the world's premier players on his instrument, the resophonic guitar. Ickes has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including Merle Haggard, Earl Scruggs, Charlie Haden, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, David Lee Roth, Dolly Parton and countless others.

Hensley is a talent both as a vocalist and guitarist. He first picked up a guitar at the age of 10 and has had the opportunity to perform with the likes of Earl Scruggs, Johnny and June Carter Cash, Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs among others.

The Lonely Heartstring Band: This group is one of the most talked-about young groups to hit the bluegrass scene in years. The San Diego Tribune calls them "the most notable bluegrass band to come out of [The Berklee College of Music] well, maybe ever."

Stanley Brothers Tribute: A few years ago at the festival started a tradition of paying tribute to a major bluegrass artist. The idea was to combine songs and narration with a special house band, and tell the story of how the roots of bluegrass have informed and influenced the music as it has grown and changed.

With the passing of Ralph Stanley in 2016, organizers knew they were going to feature the Stanley Brothers for the 2017 tribute.

John Reischman, Scott Nygaard and Sharon Gilchrist: John Reischman is one of the premier mandolinists of his generation. Scott Nygaard is the former editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine and one of the most inventive and original guitarists in the bluegrass/acoustic music scene.

Sharon Gilchrist has long made her home in the American acoustic music scene. She is a founding member of the original Dixie Chicks, and has also played with Uncle Earl, Tony Rice and Peter Rowan's Quartet, as well as Darol Anger's Republic of Strings.

Kaia Kater: Kater, born of African-Caribbean descent in Québec, grew up between two worlds: one her family's deep ties to Canadian folk music in her Toronto home; the other the years she spent learning and studying Appalachian music in West Virginia.

For further information: Contact: Kevin Brown, president and music director (509) 993-6626 Email: or Website: Facebook:


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017

Rendered 08/04/2017 15:14