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‘I hear bluegrass calling me’

Bluegrass festival ready for weekend of music

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BLUEGRASS— Duane Davis and Bob Auth are excited to welcome music fans to the Winding Creek Bluegrass Festival for a 12th year. The event runs Aug. 19-22.

Bluegrass, folk and old-time music will take center stage when the Winding Creek Bluegrass Festival returns for its 12th year the weekend of Aug. 19-22.

Festival co-founders Bob Auth and Duane Davis are excited to welcome acts from around the country such as Hillary Klug of Nashville, Tennessee, the Trinity River Band of Florida, regional acts like The Hammer and the Hatchet of Bloomington, and local groups such as Branded Blue Grass and Bahler’s Golden Age Band.

Along with four days of music, attendees can enjoy free camping, homemade ice cream served by the Carroll County Tractor Club, made with a hit and miss John Deere engine, an exhibit of Carroll County antique tractors, and food from Russiaville’s Fire Pizza.

The festival began on a whim. Auth and Davis were in Kentucky at a Jerusalem Ridge festival when inspiration hit. Auth said they had the space in Kokomo and thought they could pull off a festival of their own.

“We hired a band that day,” he said.

Bluegrass music has been around since the 1940s and got its name from Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, the originators of the sound. It developed in the Appalachian region and uses acoustic instruments such as the fiddle, mandolin and guitar. Auth, who plays fiddle in Medicinal Bluegrass, feels the genre is growing and credits that to modern musicians such as Marty Raybon, Vince Gill and Allison Kraus.

Davis described bluegrass music as harmony and speed, saying the quality of the musicianship is outstanding. He said many people play bluegrass songs but only a special few can play with the speed the genre requires. He recalled watching two musicians at a festival who played so fast their hands blurred.

“I immediately went out and bought a mandolin,” Davis said. “I still can’t do that.”

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“We try to keep our entertainment out here enjoyable for people who may say, ‘I don’t care for bluegrass,’” said Ault. “Well, they should come out and try it because we don’t always have that high squealing sound like the old traditional Bill Monroe.”

Newer musicians like Hillary Klug are taking bluegrass to social media. Klug has piled up over 1 million Facebook followers and her cover of “Cotton Eyed Joe” has over 4 million views on YouTube. Klug is a phenom who plays the fiddle, sings and buck dances. Auth and Davis are both excited to see her perform at the festival.

Not only will Klug perform both Friday and Saturday, but she will host a fiddle workshop Saturday morning. Other workshops scheduled for that morning include the mandolin with John and Brad Bahler, a guitar workshop with Evan Windsor, and Brad Lambert teaching banjo. Workshops are free to attendees.

On Sunday morning a worship service will be held with gospel tunes performed by the Winding Creek Friends. Matt Slabach from the Main Street Christian Church will provide a sermon.

With over a decade of festivals behind him, Auth said the joy of seeing people having fun hasn’t diminished. Watching people leave the festival happy and anticipating a return the following year moves his heart, he said. He’s glad to be contributing something unique to the community.

“I like seeing people smile,” he said.

A four day festival pass is available for $55. Individual day tickets range from $10 to $25. All children under 10 can enter for free and a student discount is available for high school and college students with a student ID.

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