GRAPELAND — The 17th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Bluegrass Gospel Music Festival kicks off today at Salmon Lake Park with bluegrass groups from Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas set to perform throughout the four-day weekend event.
Among those performing during the event include Southern Raised, a national touring group from Springfield, Missouri; The Marksmen from Georgia; The Harper Family and The Punches Family from Missouri; Shallow Creek from Mississippi (a band made up of male ER nurses); East Mountain from Longview; Robertson County Line from Bastrop; Sowell Family Pickers from Hempstead and White Dove from Sealy.
The festival is organized by the Texas Bluegrass Association.
“It's a chance to hear great music that you don't see every day and several groups all at one gathering — playing music every 45 minutes,” festival financial manager Colee Littlefield said. “And Salmon Lake Park is beautiful. There's no place like it.”
The opening ceremony will be held at 6:45 p.m. today on the festival stage. Music will start at 7 p.m. today with the last band taking the stage at 9:15 p.m.
On Friday and Saturday, the music will start at 1 p.m. with the last band taking the stage at 9:15 p.m.
Sunday festivities will start with a devotional with music at 10:30 a.m. Bands will perform until the festival closes at 5 p.m. Emcees will be Mike Powell and Glen Beaubouef.
On Saturday, junior workshops will be held throughout the day for those wanting to learn how to play bluegrass music. This is for youth and adults. Notices as to when and where the workshops will be posted at the park.
Food vendors and arts and crafts vendors will be set up throughout the four-day event. Those attending are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs.
“There's a swimming lake and lots of things for families to do,” Littlefield said.