Thursday, 31 July 2008

US, European acts at Omagh festival

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

The 17th Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, will be held from Friday 5 September to Sunday 7 September 2008. The programme features nine bands from North America, headed by Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper and Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass; three leading bands from continental Europe - the G2 Bluegrass Band (Sweden), the Blue Grass Boogiemen (NL), and Jiri Kralik & the Rowdy Rascals (CZ); and six bands from Ireland and the UK. Full details are on the festival website.

Bruce Molsky in Europe, 7 Oct.-17 Nov.

Multi-instrumental old-time musician Bruce Molsky will be performing in Europe during the coming October and November. Beginning on 7 October, he will play twelve dates in England, Wales, and Scotland, and on 3 November he will begin a series of fifteen dates in Sweden. Full details are on the Bruce Molsky website.

Festival Européen Bluegrass Music

Yesterday 30th July, the third edition of the Festival Européen de Bluegrass Music started in the charming medieval village La Roche-sur-Foron in the French Alps.

More than 30 groups from all over Europe and some from the US

Free entry

With lots of fringe activities, playing for children, CD sales, great food matching the event and ... and ... and ...

Main Festival Programme:
Friday 1st August
18h00 - Ouverture du festival
18h30 - début du concours, concerts jusqu'à 22h15
22h15 - Concert événement avec le groupe américain "3 Fox Drive"

Saturday 2nd August
11h30 - Concours et concerts jusqu'à 23h
23h - Concert événement avec le vainqueur de l'édition 2007 , le groupe tchèque "Kralik & Rowdy Rascals"

Sunday 3rd August
12h - Concours et concerts jusqu'à 20h30
20h30 - Concert événement avec le coup de coeur de l'édition 2006, le groupe italien "Mideando String Quintet"

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

10 years of EWOB on air in the US: update!

Liz Meyer reports that Larry Roberts, presenter of 'Down Home' on The Globe Radio, 91.1-FM, Goshen, Indiana, devoted the whole of his two-hour programme on Tuesday 29 July to the Strictly Country Records double CD 10 years of European World of Bluegrass, broadcast at 7.00-9.00 p.m. EST (1.00-3.00 a.m. Western Europe Time).

Peter Thompson of San Francisco, California, presenter of the 'Bluegrass Signal' show, will repeat his one-hour 10 years of European World of Bluegrass CD feature every day next week (3-8 August) on WAMU's Bluegrass Country radio, which can be heard here.

Full times of broadcast, quotes from reviews, and more details are in Liz's complete release, which can be read here.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Richard Ciferský's new CD Rainy day

Thanks to the Bluegrass Blog for the news that Richard Ciferský of Slovakia, formerly a member of Fragment (2002-5) and now with Waterflow, is also leading his own band, Richard Ciferský & Rainy Day, named for the title track of his new solo CD, which was released on 15 July.

Eight of the ten tracks are original compositions by Richard Ciferský (banjo); the rest of the band are Linda Nováková (flute), René Jankovič (guitar), Richard Molnár (bass), and Adam Jánoš (drums). Guest musicians on the CD include Becky Buller (fiddle, vocals), Emil Formánek (guitar), Roman Sýkora (bass), Michal Barok (mandolin), Peter Szabados (dobro, pedal steel), Sisa Michalidesová (whistle, flute), Peter Prelozník (piano, strings), and Luboš Jurkovič (vocals), drawn from bands including Druha Trava, Meantime, and Waterflow.

The tracks 'Rainy day' and 'Blue Nashville' are available (complete tracks) as free mp3s on Richard Ciferský's website.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Johnny Butten's Solo CD now out

Johnny Butten with his Kel Kroydon banjo and certificate as Guinness world record holder for fastest banjo-player

Solo, the new solo CD by English multi-instrumentalist Johnny Butten, was announced at the beginning of July on the European Bluegrass Blog. It is now released and available on CD Baby. More info and sound samples are on the CD Baby page and on Johnny's MySpace site and website.

Update 10 August: Johnny Butten appeared on the 'Blue Plate Special' show on WDVX from Knoxville, TN, on 8 August. Full details are on the Bluegrass Blog.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Picking party with Barry & Holly Tashian

Barry & Holly Tashian

Thanks to Roger Ryan of the Country Music Association of Ireland for news of a half-hour video on PTV Ireland, shot in June during a picking party at the Nashville home of Barry & Holly Tashian.

The musicians there include Barry (vocal, guitar), Holly (vocal, guitar, bass), Roland White (mandolin, bass), and David Lege (guitar). In addition, Barry and Holly talk to Roger about their lives in music. Also present is Peter Wroblewski of Germany, president of the Country & Western Friends Koetz 1982 e.V..

Barry and Holly Tashian recently presented a three-day workshop on harmony singing at the Risør Bluegrassfestival, Norway (15-19 July). Roger Ryan took part in this year's IBMA Leadership Bluegrass course in Nashville.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Hungry Hill in Ireland and Britain, 21 Aug.-29 Sept.

Coinciding with the release of their new album Ride, contemporary Canadian bluegrass band Hungry Hill announce their first ever tour of Ireland and Britain this summer.

With a focus on original writing and featuring five seasoned musicians including acclaimed banjo-player Ross Nickerson, Hungry Hill create a fresh sound while staying true to the roots of bluegrass and old-tyme music. Lush vocal harmonies resonate from singers around one microphone, in the traditional acoustic setting of old-tyme music.

'After hearing their sophomore disc, Ride, this critic has no problem declaring Hungry Hill the best bluegrass band in Canada' (Barry Hammond, Penguin Eggs 2007)

Aug. 21-4: 14th Guinness International Bluegrass Festival, Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, IRL
Aug. 26: Kilworth Arts Centre, Kilworth, Co. Cork, IRL
Aug. 28: Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, NI
Aug. 31: De Barra’s Folk Club, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, IRL
Sept. 2: St John’s Theatre, Listowel, Co. Kerry, IRL
Sept. 3: Tom Malone’s Marketplace Pub, Milltown Malbay, Co. Clare, IRL
Sept. 5-7: Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival, Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, NI
Sept. 11: Galway Americana Festival, the Crane Bar, Galway, IRL
Sept. 12: The Seamus Ennis Centre, The Naul, Co. Dublin, IRL
Sept. 13: The Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, IRL
Sept. 14: Colfers Pub, Carraig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford, IRL
Sept. 18: Jumpin’ Hot Club, Newcastle on Tyne, England
Sept. 19: Cambria Arts Centre, Tregaron, Wales
Sept. 20-22: Cornish Bluegrass Association Festival, Newquay, England
Sept. 25-8: Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival, Longford Town, Co. Longford, IRL
Sept. 26: Clifden Community Arts Festival, Connemara, Co. Galway, IRL
Sept. 29: The Cherry Tree, Walkinstown, Dublin, IRL

The official Hungry Hill press release can be seen here. More information is on the band's website and MySpace site. Media contact: e-mail.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Chocolate Drops, Krugers on WoodSongs TV

Thanks to Blue Highways TV for the news that the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the premier black old-time string band, and the Kruger Brothers, Switzerland's gift to the Carolinas, will be appearing on the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour TV show on Friday 25 July at 7:00 p.m. EST. The show will subsequently be viewable on the WoodSongs archive.

Bluegrass gospel radio stations

Tony Partigianoni of Gospel Grass Radio, an internet-only bluegrass gospel radio station in Louisiana, USA, writes:

We are a non-profit which does NOT require listeners to pay anything to listen. We don't even accept donations.

We thought some of your members would be interested in a Christian bluegrass station. To our knowledge, there is no other such station in the world except for a new station called Homemade Gospel, started recently by our friend Suzie Coleman.

If you have a newsletter, maybe you could mention our station and Suzie's station.

Gospel Grass Radio
Broadcaster: Tony Partigianoni, +1-337-401-0189; e-mail
Station Description: Playing pure, sanctified bluegrass music for the world

10 years of EWOB on air in Virginia

Liz Meyer passes on news from Garry Morse, presenter of the Lost Music Saloon record show on WRIR in the USA. Garry's show on 21 July, broadcast at 5.00-7.00 p.m. EST (23:00-01:00 Continental time; 22:00-12.00 Britain and Ireland) consisted of thirty-one tracks, all by European artists. Twenty-two of them were taken from the 10 years of EWOB compilation on Strictly Country Records:

Fragment, 'Fields of gold' (Czech and Slovak Republics)
Kreni, 'Cool night' (Czech Republic)
Zbynek Buresz w/Chris Jones & the Czech Drivers, 'Blue yodel #4' (Czech Rep)
Rawhide, 'The typewriter' (Belgium)
Liz Meyer w/Nugget, 'I've got a feeling' (USA/Austria/Czech Republic)
Red Wine, 'Winter's come and gone' (Italy)
Footprints, 'Nazaj U Mesto' (Slovenia)
Blue Cartel, 'Sunrise' (Belgium)
Fifty Fingers, 'Blue lonesome wind' (Czech Republic)
Springfield, 'Paul and Silas' (France)
Bill Clifton & Pick Of the Crop, 'Little whitewashed chimney' (USA/Netherlands)
Roll's Boys, 'Rough edges' (Czech Republic)
Blueland, 'Simple life' (Slovak Republic)
Album, 'Right on the money' (Czech Republic)
4-Wheel Drive, 'All I have to do is dream' (Netherlands/Germany/Belgium)
Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers, 'Life of a steel driving man' (Finland)
Downhill, 'Joe Hill' (Sweden)
Looping Brothers, 'New mandolin breakdown' (Germany)
Relief, 'Calm the storm' (Czech Republic)
Stroatklinkers, 'Zoltkamp' (Netherlands)
Monogram, 'Big spike hammer' (Czech Republic)
Meantime, 'Say that you are wrong' (Slovak Republic)

Other Lost Music Saloon playlists can be seen here. Liz recommends all European bands to send their CDs to

Garry Morse
Lost Music Saloon
PO Box 3913
Chester, VA 23831

EXTRA: 10 years of EWOB has hit #1 on Folk Radio in the USA this summer!

Monday, 21 July 2008

US bluegrass stars at Craponne Festival

Thanks to Friedrich Hog for the news that the many American artists appearing at the 21st Festival Country Rendez-Vous at Craponne-sur-Arzon, France (25-27 July) will include the contemporary bluegrass bands Cadillac Sky and Three Fox Drive, as well as the neo-hillbilly Big Smith.

As Friedrich will be at the Craponne festival, Peter Wroblewski will present the 'Americana' programme on Radio Free Ulm next Monday.

Cherryholmes to return to Europe, February 2009

Cherryholmes, who won the IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award 2005, are about to play five shows in England and Wales (27-31 July), ending with the Cambridge Folk Festival. Full details are on the band's website.

Jay Barron of InterNash Productions announces that Cherryholmes will return to Europe in February 2009. They are available for shows beginning 11-17 February, and are booked at the International Country Music Festival in Zurich (18/19 February), returning to Nashville on 20 February.

Cherryholmes will promote their upcoming third CD for Skaggs Family Records, Cherryholmes III. The band has had numerous Grammy nominations, and regularly appears on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Interested agents or promoters, please contact:

Jay Barron
InterNash Productions
1600 Linden Ave
Nashville, TN 37212 USA
01 615 383 3010 TEL
01 615 383 3070 FAX

Dobro workshop in France?

Rob Ickes reports that Three Ring Circle (Rob Ickes, dobro; Andy Leftwich, mandolin; Dave Pomeroy, bass) will be performing in Lunel, France, as part of the Mandolines de Lunel 2008 festival. The festival will be held from Friday 30 October to Sunday 1 November.

Rob Ickes has won the IBMA Dobro Player of the Year Award nine times since 1996. Anyone interested in a dobro workshop in France, which would be scheduled during the latter part of October, should contact Rob by e-mail.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Highlights of EWOB Month 2008: part 4

Text and photos by Lilly Pavlak

The Infamous Stringdusters at Strakonice

Saturday [at the Jamboree, Strakonice] started at 10.30 a.m. with Bluegrass Session #8 in the Castle yard. Czech bands Wejlet, Goodwill, Lunackove, Sunny Side, Minaret, Album, Wyrton, Petr Brandejs Band, then one of the Slovak bluegrass pioneer bands, Krok, CZ/USA Giant Mountain Boys, Rawhide from Belgium, and finally the Infamous Stringdusters gave the audience a sample of what they could expect in the evening... It was very hot and everybody was seeking for some shadow. The afternoon program started at 4 p.m. with the best of what the Czech scene can offer.


The young band Kreni, Monogram, Eliska & Friends, Blue Gate, Blue Ground, Peter Kus & Famy, Druha Miza Vojty Zichy, Meantime (SK), Vabank Unit, and finally Rawhide from Belgium with their great show. Of course the highlight was the Infamous Stringdusters. They were touring Europe for five weeks, visiting five different countries, but that concert in Strakonice was for sure the best of the whole tour. Most people were just speechless; many of them - mostly musicians and even the MC from the stage - said the Stringdusters were the best band they’ve ever seen live in their life. Pure success pure! And the boys played and sang like gods!

It was I think the first time on this festival without rain, there were showers and thunderstorms everywhere, but the bad weather did not dare to disturb the beautiful music.

Jamboree audience

Sunday morning (1 June), my German friend Big Herbert, who was the driver for the whole tour, offered me a ride with them to Bratislava in Slovakia for their last concert. That night the band Meantime opened for them. The Infamous Stringdusters were so good, beyond all description, and everybody loved them. At the end they held a jam session with their Slovak friends Meantime.

The Stringdusters and Meantime jamming on stage in Bratislava

What a great conclusion of a fantastic tour. And what a great end to the most beautiful European Bluegrass Month of May.

Lilly Pavlak

Bülach, Switzerland, 15 June 2008

Lilly and the Stringdusters

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Valerie Smith tour begins, 20 July

The tour of England, Ireland, and Germany by Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike begins on Sunday 20 July. Full details are on the band's MySpace site. Rainer Zellner of the Music Contact agency says:

Since my first tour with VS&LP in 2002, I have had the pleasure to work with this professional high-class band. In musicianship and entertainment quality they can hold up with the best in the genre.They never leave the stage without enthusiastic calls for encores and standing ovations. Through their consistent returning to Europe they built a dedicated audience for themselves and were a strong force in helping to introduce bluegrass music as a musical form on a high level.

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike consists of lead singer and bandleader Valerie Smith, Becky Buller (vocal, fiddle, clawhammer banjo, guitar, and as a principal songwriter in the group), Bobby Davis (bass and fiddle), Chad Graves (resophonic guitar, vocals), and Eric Lambert (guitar, mandolin).

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

More from Flatpicking Guitar magazine

We've had some exciting new internet-based developments at Flatpicking Guitar Magazine in the past few months and we would greatly appreciate it if you could let your members/readers know about these new opportunities that are available to them.

Flatpicking Guitar Network:
Our new Flatpicking Network is a FREE on-line social network, like Facebook or MySpace, but just for flatpickers. On this site we post photos, mp3s, videos, blog news, flatpicking events, and our members can do the same on their very own individualised member home page! Members can also interact with other flatpickers, join various flatpicking interest groups, comment of various forum topics, access our podcasts, and much more. Check it out here. Digital Download Site: is our new digital download site where customers can sign up for a digital subscription to both the magazine and the audio CD, and they can also download all back issues and back-issue audio CDs. This option saves customers money, they get the magazine early, and it helps to save the environment by helping us greatly reduce our 'carbon footprint'! Check it out here.


Dan Miller
Editor and Publisher

See also the EBB post of 13 July.

Peter Feldmann honoured as Music Legend

Peter Feldmann in the Alps near Wengen

The IBMA newsletter International Bluegrass reports that bluegrass performer, historian, teacher, and producer Peter Feldmann, born in Switzerland, received the Music Legend Award on 18 May from the Topanga Banjo/Fiddle Association of southern California.

Home on the grange (Hen Cackle 505), the new CD by Peter Feldmann & the Very Lonesome Boys, was released on 16 May.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Happy summer from Wells Fargo & the Nightingale

Wells Fargo & the Nightingale wish you all a happy and beautiful summer full of bluegrass.

Live in Bolzano, Italy:
Friday 18 July at 22:00 in the Stadio - Laives Val di Fiemme (Bolzano)
Saturday 19 July at 22:00 in the Aur-Ora Piccolo Teatro Via Stazione 45 Ora (Bolzano)

For more info, visit the band's website or MySpace site.

Highlights of EWOB Month 2008: part 3

Text and photos by Lilly Pavlak; Lilly's account of Tony Trischka's tour with Druha Trava continues -

The last gig was an opening concert for the Festival Jamboree in Strakonice, Thursday night. It took place in a beautiful old castle yard. Czech band Blackjack opened the evening, followed by Slavek Hanzlik & Groovy Lix. Slavek’s Czech band consists of the Jahoda brothers from band Monogram, Jarda on banjo and Zdenek on mandolin, the youngest Malina brother Josef on fiddle, and Pavel Peroutka, bass player of the band Relief. They played Slavek’s beautiful music.

Slavek Hanzlik

Robert Krestan of Druha Trava started with some songs of Bob Dylan from his last album, Dylanovky. For 'Farewell Angelina' he invited Tony to join them on the stage. They played together Dylan’s 'Nashville Skyline Rag', and from then on it was a firework display of banjo music. Many encores followed. It was almost midnight and Tony had to leave at 4 a.m. to catch his flight back to the States. The tour was so incredibly successful, he is already thinking of coming back to the Czech Republic in August...

Friday: the festival continued with a Celtic afternoon on the castle yard. The main program in the evening took place in the summer theatre, with the bands Flash Back, Sem Tam, Grasscountry Drive, Blanket, Country Cocktail, Poutnici, and Cop. The headliners were Pavel Bobek, an old country star with Robert Krestan and Malina Band (3rd edition of Lubos Malina Band).

Rawhide with Lilly

Saturday headliners the Infamous Stringdusters (USA) and Rawhide from Belgium arrived in the late afternoon and were part of the countless jam sessions till the dawn.

The Stringdusters jamming with Czech and Slovak musicians

To be concluded

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Join Andrea Tarquini in Flatpicking Guitar Network

Andrea Tarquini of the Country Kitchen Revival Jamgrass Band of Milan, Italy, has a message for flatpicking guitarists in Europe:

Hey, guys, you should open an account here at Flatpicking Guitar Network that Dan Miller created. Let us see European presence.

You can accept Andrea's invitation through this link.

Flatpicking Guitar Network, set up by Flatpicking Guitar magazine, is dedicated to presenting all aspects of the art of flatpicking the acoustic guitar. It already has 1,024 members, and carries 586 photos, 145 music tracks, 29 videos, 50 discussions, 58 events, and 46 blog posts.

Carolina Chocolate Drops in Europe, November

The Carolina Chocolate Drops, who toured on this side of the Atlantic early in 2008, will return for another tour in November. The UK organisation FOAOTMAD reports that the following dates have been confirmed:

Nov. 12: Walberton Village Hall, Arundel, England
Nov. 13: Fiddlers, Bristol, England
Nov. 14: London Jazz Festival, England
Nov. 15: Darwin Suite, Derby, England
Nov. 16: The Sage, Gateshead, England
Nov. 18: Festival Blues Sur Scene, Paris, France
Nov. 19: Paradiso Upstairs, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Friday, 11 July 2008

Report of Bononia Grass at Conwy

Band workshop with guest bass-player Martino Coppo

Gian Luca Naldi reports that Bononia Grass (Italy) has played the North Wales Bluegrass Music and Dance Festival in Conwy (UK) (see also Blog entry on 3rd July).
Luca writes:
"We enjoyed the Festival a lot. The location is amazing, Conwy is an ancient city in North Wales on an eastury with a beautiful castle and medieval walls all around. Weather has been good all three festival days just unusual for Wales region (God loves bluegrass people!). There we met The Special Consensus and Tom Hanway and we have had a great time with those guys.

A special thank you to the festival promoters , John Les and Gill Williams , they are so lovely people an their love for Bluegrass music is so evident!!!
Everything went fine, nothing wrong, a well organized festival. European bands level
was high and audience was warm and active.
Ciao e grazie!!!!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Special Consensus tour: in progress

The Special Consensus (USA), who head the bill at the 18th Athy Bluegrass Festival at Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland, this weekend (10-13 July) will conclude their current European tour at the Scottish Bluegrass Association's 22nd Guildtown Bluegrass Festival at Guildtown, Perthshire, Scotland, from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 July. Other bands at Guildtown will include Country Cocktail (CZ). Full details are on the SBA website.

The Special C., which played last weekend at the 20th International Bluegrass Music & Dance Festival in Conwy, north Wales, together with Bononia Grass (I), will also be giving a full interactive bluegrass workshop in Bathgate, Scotland, on 16 July.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Bluegrass in the Alps, 25 July-3 August

A reminder that the Bluegrass in the Alps festival, including concert performances and instrument workshops given by the Lonesome Road Band (USA) will be held from 25 July to 3 August 2008.

Registration is still open. More details are given on the festival website and on the European Bluegrass Blog posts of 2 June and 29 June.

Forum Lesachtal
Lexer Werner
Strajach 11
A-9651 St Jakob/Lesachtal

Monday, 7 July 2008

Highlights of EWOB Month 2008: part 2

Text and photos by Lilly Pavlak

Just in three more days I was already heading to the Czech Republic to join Tony Trischka & Druha Trava on their tour. Tony’s last time in the Czech Republic was twelve years ago, in Prague for the fifth anniversary of Druha Trava. He came with the reunion of the band Breakfast Special in 1996. Their friendship began in 1988. Skyline played on their European tour, also the biggest Czechoslovakian festival Porta in Pilsen, in front of 30,000.

Tony with Lubos Malina

Robert Krestan and Lubos Malina performed there with their former band Poutnici, and they became friends, since. Tony always has always been their hero and mentor. Tony can look back at his Czech roots, because his great-grandfather was born there. So after twelve long years he was now able to play in the Czech Republic again.

They performed four concerts and two festivals between 23 and 30 May. From the first moment on their musician collaborations was just brilliant. After not even two hours of rehearsing they performed their first concert together. The excellent Grasscountry Drive band opened this little outdoor event for them and the area was filled up to the last seat. ‘Double Banjo’ with Lubos Malina worked out perfectly, and the rest of the band held their own. The audience was just enthusiastic.

[Colloquial English has devalued 'just' and 'enthusiastic'. A good dictionary will give the full force of Lilly's point here - RH]

Druha Trava & Tony Trischka at Lochotin, Pilsen

Next day we drove to Pilsen to Festival Lochotin after twenty years. The area was a large amphitheatre, the same as at Porta in 1988. Although it was very well visited, an audience of 30,000 will never ever be possible there again. But they received frenetic applause.

Katka Garcia, Emil Formanek, Robert Krestan, Tony

On Sunday they played at a City festival in Teplice. This time Lubos Malina’s second band, Garcia, opened for them. This is a formation around incredible female singer Katka Garcia, playing mostly Celtic music.

On stage at Teplice

Also the Prague concert in Club Mlejn was sold out. Lot of people was standing along the walls. It was the longest concert on the tour and nobody would expect that the musicians rehearsed for the first time just four days ago.

Tony & Druha Trava at Club Mlejn, Prague

Many encores followed. So Tony showed us some solo work, double banjos, duet mandolin-banjo with Robert Krestan, and so on. One of the most beautiful was 'Esher’s waltz' with Lubos playing tarogato, a strange east European woodwind instrument.

The next concert was in my hometown, Brno. Again hopelessly sold out. People standing everywhere and more than fifty were sent home from the box office.

(To be continued)

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Picnic Festival 2008, 6-7 September

Hello every good music lover,

This year the Picnic Festival welcomes you again to the wonderful green place of Terra Nova at the Citadel of Namur on 6 & 7 September 2008.

Saturday will stay the 'Bluegrass Day' with some great bands from Belgium, the Czech Republic, and USA like the Lovell Sisters (USA) (above), the Sacred Sounds Of Grass (D), G-runs ‘n Roses (CZ), and the Sons Of Navarone (B).

We keep the Celtic music on Sunday with the great bands, David Munnelly Band, (Ir), Valerio (Ir, B), Turdus Philomelos (B), and the great show for kids, Les Déménageurs (B). Links to bands' websites are on our own website.

All these bands will play on the outside main stage. Other great bands will play in a real 'Irish Pub' (Clo & Milo, Alain Baume & Marc Malempré (Celtic Tales), jams...). Another hall for food and a third one for some kids' entertainment (with musical instruments, toys in wood, games...). And of course stands with stringed-instrument makers, good regional food... and information about hearing troubles (more information on our own website).

Our master words : a friendly, happy, and family-party people event! (entrance free under 14 years old, covered plain in case of rain). Presentation in French, Dutch and English. For more information, please visit our own website.

Picnic Team

Friday, 4 July 2008

Highlights of EWOB Month 2008: part 1

Text and photos by Lilly Pavlak

After returning from the EBMA’s EWOB Festival in Holland, I visited the 9th Annual Spring Festival Willisau in Switzerland on 17 May. This perfectly organized Swiss festival took place in a big barn in the farmer museum at Burgrain, near Lucerne. There were five performing bands playing two sets, one in the afternoon, one in the evening: the Swiss old-time Big Stone, the Czech band Blackjack (who won the #2 Audience Popularity Award at this year’s EWOB Festival),

Blackjack (CZ) at Willisau

the Americans Sally Jones & the Sidewinders (for a couple of songs also with the help of Chris Jones),

Sally Jones & the Sidewinders with Chris Jones

and the Infamous Stringdusters (of whom more later), and finally the young Swedish G2 Bluegrass Band, voted in Holland as the #1 European Bluegrass Band 2007.

G2 Bluegrass Band (Sweden)

The program could not be any better. Several hundred visitors to the sold-out event went home richer for a great musical experience.

(To be continued)

Aaron Till (fiddle), Chris Jones, Sally Jones

Grasstowne in Sweden and Finland

Grasstowne: front, Alan Bibey (mandolin), Steve Gulley (guitar), Phil Leadbetter (dobro); rear, Jason Davis (banjo), Jamey Booher (bass)

Bluegrass supergroup Grasstowne (USA) will be playing five dates in Scandinavia, beginning tomorrow at the Torsaker Bluegrass Festival. The full schedule, as shown on their tours page, is:

Sat. 5th July: Torsaker Bluegrass Festival, Torsaker, Sweden
Sun. 6th July: Torsaker Church, Torsaker, Sweden
Tues. 8th July: Saterdalen, Sater, Sweden
Wed. 9th July: Helsinki, Finland
Thurs. 10th: Tantogarden, Sweden

Thanks to the Bluegrass Blog for this news. A report on the tour is expected from Grasstowne on their return to the USA.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Johnny Butten: news

Johnny Butten, English-born multi-instrumentalist now resident in the USA, will bring out his new swing-flavoured bluegrass album Solo in mid July. On it he plays all the instruments - banjo, upright bass, fiddle, mandolin, and guitar. Sample tracks can be heard on his MySpace page. Solo will be available through many online outlets, including CD Baby, iTunes, Napster and, and will be available for order through various stores worldwide.

Also for release in mid July is the first of Johnny's Pick it right series - a beginner bluegrass banjo instructional DVD, including tablature booklet and onscreen graphics/chord charts never used in any previous banjo DVD. Other DVDs in the Pick it right series include Intermediate 1, 2, 3, and 4, advanced picking techniques, riffs and licks, speed picking, and a 1 hour DVD on banjo assembly and set-up with detailed video and graphics! These will be released throughout the summer and early fall.

Johnny Butten remains the official last holder of the World's Fastest Banjo Player title, according to the Guinness organisation. However, Guinness are now revising the rules to allow more precise comparison between players, and a rematch between Johnny and the previous record holder is possible.

Johnny's new band includes Joe Smart (guitar), a winner of the Winfield flatpicking competition, and Craig Mozley (bass); the position of mandolin player is still open.

As well as endorsing Kel Kroydon banjos, Johnny now endorses Schatten instrument pickups. They make pickups (and preamps) for many instruments, especially all bluegrass instruments, and have supplied him with their latest BJ-02 Pro Model. After a four-week trial period, he finds it superior to any other pickup he has used: 'Easy installation, well hidden, aesthetically pleasing, excellent volume control, and superior tone... I can't wait to try Schatten on my fiddle and guitar!'

An article on Johnny and his activities is in preparation for High Plains Reader, a magazine covering the mid-western USA.

First Bavarian Bluegrass Festival, 19 July

Uli Singer announces that the 1. Bayerisches Bluegrass-Festival will take place on Saturday 19 July, starting at 18:00, at the Landkreis Starnberg, Weßlinger Straße 32/38, Baggersee in Gilching, Bavaria, Germany. Bands taking part include world-class banjo-player Rüdiger Helbig and his Huckleberry Five band; Strictly Bluegrass; and the BSB New Acoustic Band.

The 'Munich Blue Grass Friends' association, newly founded with the object of supporting and promoting bluegrass and related styles of music, will also be represented. Admission €18.00; free for children under 14; €5.00 for young people under 18. For more info contact:
Uli Singer
Landsberger Straße 37
82205 Gilching
Telefon 08105-26538
Telefax 08105-26539

Bononia Grass at Conwy (4-6 July) and Bologna (13 July)

Gian Luca Naldi reports that Bononia Grass (Italy) will play from 4th to 6th July at the North Wales Bluegrass Music and Dance Festival in Conwy (UK). The band personnel will be:

Giovanni Stefanini (mandolin, lead vocal)
Gian Luca Naldi (banjo, vocals)
Giovanni Zordan (guitar, vocals)
Paolo Ercoli (dobro, vocals)
Martino Coppo (bass, mandolin), on loan from Red Wine

Bononia Grass will also play on 13th July at Festival Artisti Di Strada in Castel Guelfo, Bologna, Italy, their home town, where the lineup will be:

Giovanni Stefanini (mandolin, lead vocals)
Gian Luca Naldi (banjo, vocals)
Giovanni Zordan (guitar, vocals)
Paolo Ercoli (dobro, vocals)
Pedro Judwkoski (double bass)

Giovanni Stefanini and Martino Coppo can be seen jamming (with John Paul Jones on bass) on YouTube.