Bluegrass Festival comes to Chemainus

International bluegrass stars The Spinney Brothers headline the sixth annual Chemainus Bluegrass Festival this weekend.

International bluegrass stars The Spinney Brothers headline the sixth annual Chemainus Bluegrass Festival this weekend.

Featuring acts over two days — July 16-17 — this much-anticipated show returns to the Waterwheel Park bandshell.

Alan Spinney (guitar and vocals), Rick Spinney (banjo and vocals), Gary Dalrymple (mandolin) and Terry Poirier (upright bass) will make one of their rare west coast appearances.

The Nova Scotia-based band has garnered a long list of awards and nominations over the years, within Canada and internationally. Their 2014 CD No Borders reached number one on the Bluegrass Unlimited Top 15 Albums list and, in the same year, their CD Tried & True reached the No. 1 spot for country albums in Holland.

The band’s latest CD, Living the Dream, quickly entered Billboard’s Top Ten Bluegrass Albums chart.

Festival stalwart Bob Johns said organizers are “happy to present a band noted for its great vocal harmonies.”

But there’s more, he said, pointing out, FarmStrong, from rural Washington, who will demonstrate their own brand of bluegrass, with some dobro and vocal work.

“Another band that fans love to hear is the Victoria-based Clover Point Drifters,” Johns said. “As well as enjoying the group’s music, festival-goers will also see a piece of Canadian musical history, as the band’s bass player, George Robinson, shows off the bass that once belonged to Duke Neilson, of Don Messer’s famous Islanders band.”

Another band featured at the festival will be one of Vancouver Island’s favourite groups, Bluegrass Fever. The five-piece band features players from Victoria, Port Alberni, Chemainus, and Crofton.

Bluegrass fans can also look for the Harmony Ridge’s, Mike “Boomer” Boyd and Luann Burton who will be joined by Powell River’s Max Pagani and Bill Smith, to create a great four-piece band for the festival. Rounding out the weekend will be The Song Sisters, with Shelley Brown and Tamara Phelan.

Admission to the festival is by donation, with $20 per day suggested, or $30 for the weekend. Check out www.chemainusbluegrass.com for more information.