From Wednesday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
Bluegrass fest is worldwide draw
GUTHRIE — True to its name, the 14th annual Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival will bring a global sampling of acoustic music to the state.
The three-day festival, opening Thursday, will feature musicians from across the United States as well as a few other countries.
The Kruger Brothers, a Swiss band now based in North Carolina, are festival favorites, while the Louvat Brothers of Belgium are making a return visit after playing the inaugural event. The Toy Hearts from England and Turquoise, whose members are French, Italian and American, are first-timers to the festivities.
“It’s good for Oklahoma. A lot of people come from all over the world to Guthrie … just for this festival,” said internationally known Guthrie fiddler Byron Berline, the event’s founder and president.
Along with traditional bluegrass, the festival spotlights a variety of acoustic music, from Frenchie Burke’s Cajun fiddling and the Red Dirt Rangers’ eponymous music to Hankerin’ 4 Hank’s Hank Williams tribute and Jim Garling’s cowboy songs. Berline’s band will play all three days.
Country singer Larry Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers will headline the festival and perform Saturday night. It will be his first time to play the event.
Other performers who will make their festival debuts are Virginians Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie and Texan Brett Graham.
The event also will include an open mike, random band jam, workshops, children’s tent and young musician contests. Instrument auctions at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday will help fund scholarships for musically talented youths.
“It’s very rewarding. Some of these kids that took our scholarships are playing professionally now,” he said, including members of the Hunt Family Bluegrass of Orlando, OK, who are on Thursday’s lineup.
Many of the performers will play Sunday in a golf tournament to raise money for the nonprofit festival.
The nonprofit festival offers a relaxed atmosphere where people can enjoy acoustic music and Oklahoma’s autumn ambiance, he said.
“The crowds are great. The ones that come are really into it. … Campers love it,” Berline said. “It’s kind of a nice time because the weather’s starting to change a little bit. There’s a little excitement in the air, you might say, about everything.”
14th annual Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival
When: Activities begin at 9 a.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
Where: Festival grounds on Cottonwood Creek, State Highway 33 at U.S. 77, Guthrie
Admission: Advance tickets are $25 for Thursday, $30 for Friday, $35 for Saturday and $70 for a three-day pass. Tickets at the gate are $30 for Thursday, $40 for Friday or Saturday and $80 for a three-day pass.
Information: 282-4446 or www.oibf.com.