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Bluegrass festival a family jam

For bluegrass musicians and fans, the music continues past the stage show.

After the lights go down, nationally known performers can be found guitar-picking alongside the fans who’ve traveled to hear them play – and that includes the youngest fans, said Kevin Brown, music director and acting president of this weekend’s Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival in Medical Lake.

Situated at Waterfront Park, with its swimming beach, playground and shade trees, the festival is family oriented, Brown said: “It’s a safe place to have your kids up all night playing music with other people.”

The festival aims for a mix of national and regional performers who run the spectrum from progressive, “edgy” bluegrass to music reflecting its traditional roots in the 1940s and ’50s, as exemplified by Bill Monroe, Brown said.

While some concerts might run too late for some families, they start as early as noon Saturday and Sunday.

On the edgy end: Della Mae, a five-woman, Boston-based combo nominated for the Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2012 by the International Bluegrass Music Association. The band’s founder and fiddle player, Kimber Ludiker, grew up in Spokane.

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, another high-energy and progressive band – and also pegged among top emerging acts – will appear at Medical Lake shortly after touring in France, where Brown said video showed them greeted by “5,000 screaming French people.”

On the mellower end: Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, based in Seattle, and Pharis & Jason Romero, of Horsefly, B.C.

Adrian Rogers

Where: Waterfront Park in Medical Lake, on State Highway 902 on the lake’s south end.

Concert times: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets for people 13 and older: $15, Friday; $30, Saturday; $25, Sunday; $50, all three days. Children 12 and younger admitted free. Tickets available at the gate.

Website: Go to for preconcert workshop times, driving directions and information about camping passes.