In November I attended a meeting at the Roeder Home of Whatcom Parks and Recreation Foundation for an announcement of a new festival coming to Ferndale’s Hovander Homestead Park.
The Hovander Homestead Park Bluegrass Festival is set for Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-5. Working in partnership with the Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department and 5 Starr Jams, the Hovander house, the iconic red barn and ample wide open spaces at the park provide the perfect setting for live music, says festival co-founder David Starr.
The all-ages festival will feature two stages with live music and entertainment from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3 and 4. The festival grounds will open for camping Friday morning, Sept. 2, with a salmon feed for campers, performers and invited guests; and will remain open until Monday afternoon (Labor Day).
The festival will have craft and food vendors, a beer garden, contests for instrumentalists; informal jam areas, an instrument swap meet, and a children’s stage with entertainment and activities. The festival will also feature nationally recognized bluegrass bands, emerging artists from across the country, and plenty of local talent, Starr says.
“We hope to have representation from the best of our local mobile food vendors,” says Heather Carter, development director for Whatcom Parks and Recreation Foundation.
Ticket sales are scheduled to begin this month, but ticket prices are not yet set, she says.
The foundation is seeking corporate sponsors and private donors to support the festival. There will be several mini-concerts throughout winter and spring to help raise money and awareness for the festival. Volunteers are also needed to organize festival components.
“Bluegrass music has been called ‘folk music with overdrive’” says Daniel Tepper, the foundation’s president.
“Bluegrass groups play a mix of traditional instruments — banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass and dobro — that combine together to create an amped-up form of country music featuring tight harmonies and top-notch musicianship at accelerated pace,” he says. “If good bluegrass music doesn’t have you jumping up to dance, or at least tapping your toes, you many need to check for a pulse.”
Proceeds from the festival will benefit the foundation and the animal contact area at the park.
“Growing a successful festival will help the foundation in its mission to support parks, trails and recreation throughout Whatcom County; and to help improve a locally beloved park feature — the animal contact area at the park,” Carter says.
When: Hovander Homestead Bluegrass Festival on Sept. 2-5
Where: Hovander Homestead Park
Details: 360-474-7715, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.hhbgf.org