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North Country News

Lake Placid To Hold Bluegrass Festival

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Olympic Regional Development Authority
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Later this month, Lake Placid will be the site of an 11-hour, multi-performer bluegrass festival. It’s the first time that Lake Placid, which has hosted two Olympics, has showcased performers in that style of music.

In the 1980's, 90’s and early 2000's there were a number of concerts held in the Olympic Center. But due to escalating costs and fewer bands, the Olympic Regional Development Authority gradually stopped booking shows. ORDA Spokesman Jon Lundin says they have been looking for a genre of music that would appeal to a large number of people. Lundin hopes the bluegrass festival set for October 25th fits the bill.   “We’re trying to bring shows and concerts back to the Olympic Center. Maybe not the size of Kiss or The Grateful Dead or Rush or some of the new groups. But bring shows that are affordable to the public. Shows that are appealing to the public. In the Lake Placid area some of the most popular concerts are the bluegrass shows. There is the traditional bluegrass sound and now there’s this kind of new-grass style of music which is more of a rock, country and jazzy type sound. So within bluegrass it just appeals to a lot of different people.”

ORDA and Lake Placid will play host to bluegrass artists including Grammy winners Sam Bush, the Del McCoury Band, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, and Amy Helm. Again, ORDA Spokesman Jon Lundin.  “There will be ten different bands that will be playing on two different stages from 12:30 until 11:00 at night. So basically once one band finishes on one stage another one will kick off on the other stage. And people will have the freedom to go in and out of the 1932 rink at will. The reason that we put it in the ‘32 rink is because we wanted to make it a festival atmosphere. We wanted to have a nice intimate setting where people can be up close to the stages and to the bands and really feel a part of it. I think it’s a nice blend of established groups and the up and coming groups.”

The Gibson Brothers, winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award in 2012 and 2013, are performing at the Lake Placid Bluegrass Jam. They appeared earlier this month on Prairie Home Companion and will perform at bluegrass festivals across the northeast. Banjo player and vocalist Eric Gibson, who lives near Plattsburgh, says he’s excited to be among the performers.   “They went in full bore bringing in Del McCoury,  who’s at the top of our business. He’s won entertainer of the year nine or ten times. He’s won several Grammy’s. He’s becoming one of the patriarchs of our music and he’s made some of his most important music in later years. He’s in his 70's and he’s still a vibrant performer making important records. And his band is just world class. His sons play with him and they’re wonderful. And Sam Bush, the legendary Grammy-winning, they call him the father of new-grass. Both these guys are as nice off stage as they appear on stage. They’re super guys. I’m excited to be part of it.”