Saturday October 10, 2020

Begins at 4 PM

Harrisonville United Methodist Church

2600 Mechanic Street

Harrisonville, MO

9th Annual Blue River Bluegrass Festival October 10, 2020

Our Passion and Our Purpose

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For the past eight years we have been committed to bringing world class bluegrass/roots music to the Kansas City region in order to benefit some of the greatest charities in our communities.  


Previous artists at our festival include Dailey and Vincent, Doyle Lawson, Balsam Range, Marty Raybon, Flatt Lonesome and Kenny & Amanda Smith. 


Thanks to our bluegrass community we have been able to share tens of thousands of dollars for athletic  programs for at risk youth at Southwest High, for much needed resources for families of murder victims and for programs to care for victims of human trafficking.


This year all  donations received at this festival will benefit victims of human trafficking here in our city through the work of Restoration House which works tirelessly to stop human trafficking while providing skilled care to rescue human trafficking victims.

The Band of Ruhks - Check our their video at the bottom of this page

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Some things have a magic all their own.  The musical collaboration between Ronnie Bowman, Don Rigsby and Kenny Smith is one of these things.  These three men made music together in the 1990’s as members of The Lonesome River Band.  Their work there was critically acclaimed and during the apex of the group’s popularity.  In 2001, each of them embarked on their own personal musical journeys that led to new heights and influences.


Ronnie Bowman has long been regarded as one of Bluegrass music’s finest singers and songwriters.  With a string of awards (IBMA and SPGBMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, etc.) and numerous nominations and accolades, his resume is outstanding to say the least.  He has written #1 hits for country artists and led his own band The Committee for years.  In addition to this, he performs regularly with The Likely Culprits in Nashville and tours with Lee Ann Womack as well as his old singing partner Dan Tyminski.  Considered a formidable music producer, he can often be found behind the mixing console in the studio at the helm of various recording sessions.  


Don Rigsby became the first full-time director of the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music in 2001.  He remained in that position for 8 years.  During that time he formed his own band Midnight Call and toured the US and overseas too.  As a charter member of the super group Longview he always has kept his strong love for old school Bluegrass music in the front of his musical conscience too.  Rigsby is also an acclaimed music producer, session musician and teacher.  He is a sought after session vocalist and has provided harmony vocals on such projects as Alan Jackson’s “Bluegrass Album” (Along with Ronnie Bowman), James King’s “Three Chords and the Truth” and Peter Rowan’s “Old School”, to name some recent examples. 


Kenny Smith formed a band with his wife Amanda Smith and immediately found success.  The duo captured the IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year award their first year of existence.  Since that time, they have embarked on a remarkable journey of love and music that has led them all over the world.  Smith is regarded as being a true original guitar stylist.  Kenny is a two-time winner of IBMA Guitar Player of the Year and has been nominated multiple times.  He combines elements from many of his musical mentors, but is completely unique.  He is called for his expertise in the studio and as a guitar instructor and has various instructional materials that showcase his unique style and mastery of his instrument. He teaches regularly at scores of camps.  His recent project “The Return” was a follow-up to his classic solo project “Studebaker”.  He continues to perform with Amanda as a duet in concerts and at festivals all across America.

The High 48s - Check our their video at the bottom of this page

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This is a band from the state of  Minnesota with one foot in tradition and the other in the world of music today,  and one of the very few who can find an overlooked bluegrass classic in a song by the Clash then throw down hard on a standard by Bill Monroe.  In 2018, the 48s welcomed guitar phenom Clint Birtzer into the band. Though only 25 years old, Clint is already a bluegrass veteran, with three Minnesota State Flatpicking Championship wins under his belt as well as thousands of shows and album releases with newgrassers Sawtooth Brothers.

The band takes its name from railroad slang for the boxcars originally used to transport troops on the front lines in WWI that could carry 40 soldiers or 8 horses, and were later used in the US on fast-moving “hot shot” freight trains by train-hoppers looking for work during the Great Depression.

This festival is more than music

Quilt Show

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Come and enjoy some of the most beautiful quilts in the region.  We will also auction off some quilts with all proceeds going to Restoration HouseKC and the fight against human trafficking.  If you would like to enter a quilt in our show or offer one for auction email us at blueriverbluegrass@gmail.com

Tractor Show

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Come and experience the power and beauty of these working works of art and a great piece of our American Story.  If you have a tractor you would like to enter in the tractor show  just email us at blueriverbluegrass@gmail.com

Festival Food

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What would a festival be without great festival food ?   All of your favorites. Come hungry. And if you or your organization would like to provide some Festival food with proceeds going to Restoration House KC email us at  blueriverbluegrass@gmail.com

The Band of Ruhks Video

The High 48s video