Friday, 15 January 2016

Bluegrass Bands, it's time to apply! - La Roche Bluegrass Festival - August 4-7 2016

La Roche Bluegrass Festival 2016 has already been announced and information to bands willing to apply to play at La Roche Bluegrass Festival 2016 was just sent out (by the way, anyone who has not received the email and wishes to apply should write to
Festival growth 2006-2015
Nonetheless, before looking to the future, some useful data collected from the Special 10th Anniversary Festival in 2015 and presented in a Press Release few days ago need to be shared (see figure) to show how the festival has grown in those years.
These data are important because have caused some of the intentions and conditions of the festival to be restated, and some changes have been planned for the festival 2016. Let's see what they are about.

What remains unchanged
  • It will be a European festival dedicated exclusively to Bluegrass music, promoting a variety of Bluegrass stules and closely related genres in different venues around the town.
  •  It will be a festival for established European acts to play to large audiences, for new and upcoming European bands to showcase their talents, and for European fans to see top US acts as they seek to increase exposure outside the USA.
  • It is a volunteer based organisation with all concerts free, funded by private and public sponsorship and revenue generating operations, where musicians and spectators feel welcome, want to come back and recommend it to their friends.
What's new
The Front Country from California have been already booked to play at the festival in 2016, and at least one more US band and two or three from Europe will soon be booked.

The Workshop
The 2016 workshop will run August 2-4 and, like in the previous years, workshop bands will open the festival on the Main Stage on August 4.
The instructors will be the Rapidgrass Quintet's members and will teach guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass and fiddle. All are seasoned and/or professional music teachers. Mark Morris (guitar) and Coleman Smith (fiddle) have already taught many times at La Roche Bluegrass Workshop with the Hickory Project; nevertheless they will be supported by the usual team of French instructors.

The Band Contest
The Rapidgrass Quintet is offering $5,000 to the winner to perform at the Clear Creek Bluegrass Festival in Colorado at the end of June 2017. The winning band will also receive €2,000 to headline La Roche Bluegrass Festival in 2017. The number of the contest finalists is reduced to eight; each day two bands will be playing, from Thursday to Sunday.
The process to apply the contest remains unchanged, as the criteria for judging the bands do (band cohesion, originality, instrumental and vocal technique, stage presence).
Each year the contest starts again from scratch and any winning band may reapply.

Lunchtime Sessions
They will take place on the secondary stage between midday and 03:00pm, three bands playing each day. Two of the bands will be from US. The remaining will be young or new European bands, and at least one will be invited to come back and perform on the main stage in 2017.

Conditions for European Bands
Because of the number of workshop students, the bands will be able to stay in the available two schools only from Thursday to Sunday (plus Wednesday if playing at the Street Festival). For further details about travel allowance and meal tickets refer to website.

If you have never been in La Roche and want to figure it out, check out the Video Channel on Daily Motion to see a full diaporama about the 2014 festival, and some clips of concerts and other events/activities around the festival. You will fall in love with La Roche!