It’s warm and sunny for the 16th Sooke River Bluegrass Festival. Acts from across North America will be performing over three days, from Friday June 15 through Sunday June 17.

“We’ve got bands from Nashville, Boston, Seattle, Vancouver, Colorado, and right here in B.C.” said Bob Remington, the Festival’s artistic director.

Many of those acts include Grammy and Juno award-winning artists.

So what’s the origin of bluegrass?

Greg Blake, from the band Jeff Scroggins and Colorado explains that “bluegrass” was original country music.

“[it was] influenced a lot by the immigrants from different portions of the country,” said Blake.

Remington adds that some of the songs are from the 16oo’s and 1700’s in the British Isles.

“It came over and became what they call ‘old time music’ in rural Appalachia,” said Remmington.

Along with performances all weekend, many fans are enjoying what are known as the “slow-pitch work shops”.

“[They are] where beginning and amateur players are being taught how to play this music,” says Remington. “You go slowly, right? So that’s part of the appeal of it.”

Organizers are pleased that the Sooke River Bluegrass Festival keeps growing.

“Keeps getting a little better every year,” adds Remington. “We get [musicians] coming to us now wanting to play here, so we must be doing something right.”

Veronica Cooper