Bluegrass Festival rocks Iroquois Point this weekend

Get ready to take in some great toe-tapping, hand-clapping good times at Iroquois Point this weekend. The annual Bluegrass Festival, sponsored by the Galop Canal Committee, is running June 18-21 at 6020 Carman Road. This year, the Festival is even bigger and better.

Four days of music provided by outstanding live bands, will thrill dedicated bluegrass fans, and win new fans to the genre. And this year, there’s a special session, Friday, June 19, 2 to 5 p.m. only, of country music, featuring Ralph and Brenda Country. 

Following the Festival opening ceremonies at 5:45 p.m., held at the Lions Bandshell, audiences can just sit back and enjoy some outstanding bluegrass for the rest of the weekend.

 “We already have reservations for 200 campers right on the site,” said Geraldine Fitzsimmons, manager of the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce. “The chair of the Galop Canal Bluegrass Festival, Joey Vankoppen, and his team of dedicated volunteers, have been working a lot of hard hours to make this Festival a runaway success. And we have a great musical line-up for audiences, due in large measure to the efforts of Melissa Sherman, who helped put the band line-up together. And the word is definitely out there, since our advance sales are really good this year. I know that people simply love this South Dundas area.”

The bands featured this year are Grassy Fiddle Time, County Road 5, Maple Hill, County Road 44, Hard Ryde, Monroe Sisters, Barrel Boys, Canucky Bluegrass Boys, Georgian Blue and the Schotts. 

Not only will people be able to enjoy the best of Bluegrass performances, the Festival also offers free workshops to those interested in learning more about playing traditional bluegrass. On Saturday, June 20, members of the band, Hard Ryde, will be offering an 11 a.m. mandolin workshop, a 12 noon banjo workshop and a 1 p.m. guitar workshop. All participants need is an interest and an instrument. All ages are welcome from novices to experienced players.

And there will be plenty of good eating all weekend to go along with the fun and music. The Iroquois Legion is offering a delicious breakfast on Saturday morning: tickets will also be on sale (reserve in advance with Barb Rabideau at 613-543-3114) for a Legion steak supper Saturday night. Halees at the Point will also be open for the entire Festival. Watch for interesting vendors on site as well. 

In between acts, on Saturday, visitors to the Festival can also enjoy viewing some special cars, antique, muscle and modern, right on site with the members of the Golden Gears Car Club. “This is simply going to add to the interest and to the excitement of the weekend,” said Fitzsimmons. 

Events like the Bluegrass Festival bring many visitors to the South Dundas area, helping to boost the local economy. “We are certainly very grateful for the sponsorship we have received,” Gerri Fitzsimmons said, “but since the Festival impacts the entire municipality, we hope to work more closely with the municipality in the future. Funds raised will go back into developing the Bluegrass Festival into one of the biggest festivals of its type in Canada.”

Passes for part or all of the weekend events, and additional information, are available by contacting galopcanalbluegrassfestival@gmail.com. There’s something for everyone at the Iroquois Point Bluegrass Festival June 18-21: come out and enjoy four great days.

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