Future bluegrass musicians will be picking their way through new tunes this coming weekend during the Blistered Fingers Kids Academy.
WHAT: 41st Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Music Festival in Litchfield
DATES: Thursday, Aug. 22, to Sunday, Aug. 25
TIMES: 5-10 p.m. Thursday, 12:30-10 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday (worship service at 9 a.m.)
COST: $80 for four days; $15 Thursday, $30 Friday and Saturday ($20 after 5 p.m.), $10 Sunday. Children 12 and younger free with an adult.
The academy is part of the 41st Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Festival in Litchfield. The four-day semiannual festival is scheduled to kick off Thursday at the Litchfield Fairgrounds, 30 Plains Road.
"It's to get our next generation going," concert promoter Sandy Cormier said.
The festival, which began in 1991, features dozens of bands from throughout the nation. For the third consecutive year, it also will feature instructors from the Bluegrass Music Association of Maine to teach those ages 6 to 18 to play a variety of instruments, from mandolins to violins and banjos.
Students are encouraged to provide their own instruments, though the festival does have a wide range of instruments available for children unable to afford their own. Cormier said children are encouraged to take part, whether they've been playing for years or they don't know a mandolin from a fiddle.
"It gives them a little bit of a feel for the music," Cormier said. "The focus is going to be on how to play, sing and perform bluegrass music."
The instruction and instrument use are free with admission to the festival, though students are asked to commit to three days of classes.
At the end of those three days, the students will get to show what they learned during a brief concert on stage.
"Everybody gets to shine a little bit," Cormier said.
The festival kicks off at 5 p.m. Thursday, though gates open for camping at 8 a.m. Monday. Cormier said plenty of spots still are available to campers.
The festival continues with nearly daylong performances through 1 p.m. Sunday. A worship service is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday.
The festival typically draws thousands, Cormier said.
"It's a family-friendly atmosphere," she said. "It's like one big family gathering."
For information, visit www.BlisteredFingers.com or call 873- 6539.
Craig Crosby can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:
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