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Upper Hudson Bluegrass offers cure for life's whirlwind

NORTH CREEK In our hectic world, with time at a premium, overscheduling the norm, and electronic communication replacing human contact, its tough to get a good dose of relaxation. But not to worryan antidote has emerged!

The fourth annual Upper Hudson Bluegrass Festival promises to be a memorable shindig. At the Ski Bowl Park, Friday to Sunday, Aug. 24-26, nine bands will put on a remarkable show. The bands include: The Gibson Brothers, Goldwing Express, Smokey Greene, Al & Kathy Bain, Acoustic Blue, String Dusters, Bear Tracks, Dave Nichols & Spare Change, and John Hudson & Friends. The music starts Friday at 2:30 p.m. and continues nearly nonstop until Sunday at 5 p.m., with only a few essential breaks for field pickin.

If youre not familiar with bluegrass music, it may be worth a listen. Its upbeat tempos, acoustic purity ,and relatable lyrics induce a much-needed happiness that soothes away stress. And next weekend you can experience all that and more in North Creek.

The term bluegrass comes from Kentuckian Bill Monroes band, The Blue Grass Boys, who appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in 1939. The genre formed from a fusion of old-time country, blues, gospel, and Scots-Irish traditional music. It featured distinctive vocal harmonies, melodic turns by each instrument and jazzlike improvisation. Then in 1945, banjo player Earl Scruggs, now 83, brought a fresh sound to bluegrass with his original three-finger picking style.

TV and film soundtracks of such films as The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonnie and Clyde, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and the classic hit song Dueling Banjos from Deliverance brought bluegrass to wider audiences. Fans grew as festivals began springing up in the 1960s to become popular weekend retreats for unwinding and connecting with friends.

Festival co-chairs, Joel Beaudin, of North River, and Rusty Leigh, a lifelong Johnsburg resident, along with Lloyd Burch, Larry Carr, and Mary Lou Cole recently formed Upper Hudson Festivals Inc., a not-for-profit organization. Their mission is to entertain by offering top-quality music while bringing new people and business into the area. Theyre also committed to awarding community grants and promoting musical arts through local school programs. Looking to the future, they are currently securing bands for next years extravaganza.

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