It’s taking the first weekend in June six days to get here, but organizers of the Texas Bluegrass Celebration are promising the wait will be worth it.
This year’s event, sponsored by the Early Chamber of Commerce and held in the Brownwood Coliseum, unofficially kicks off Thursday with a beans and cornbread dinner and a jammin’ with the bands session. Officially, the start is 5:30 p.m. Friday in the coliseum.
The “Tennessee Gentlemen” from Memphis will be the headline band this year, but the musical rotation includes Star Canyon, Ellis County Bluegrass, Lonesome Prairie, Triple L Band and Clear River.
The Thursday event is free — and that includes the beans and cornbread meal. Seeing as the price is right, don’t be late lining up, however. Supper’s served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Margaret and Stuart Coleman Plaza at the Santa Fe Depot and Cultural Center. Bring your lawn chair, and prepare to sit, pick, grin and play. Jam sessions start at 7, so, if you are late for supper, you might have some music with your beans.
On Friday, Star Canyon opens the show, and that band’s scheduled to start playing at 5:45, followed by Ellis County Bluegrass, then Lonesome Prairie, Triple L Band and Clear River — each playing a 45-minute set.
Tickets for the Friday shows are $10 each and will be available at the door. Saturday’s tickets are $15.
The Tennessee Gentlemen are the opening band Saturday. The show opens at 11:45 a.m. and the TG take the stage at 12:25 p.m. Bands play on a 40-minute rotation with an hour-long supper break from 4:55 to 5:55 p.m. Ellis County Bluegrass finishes the night and their last set begins at 6:50 p.m.
The Bluegrass Celebration the first week in June, is a more than five-year tradition for Brown County. But the event’s first years, held in the tradition of most bluegrass festivals seemed to always get rained out. While show followers will be bringing their RVs, the shows are all inside.
Originally the festival was hosted by the Friends of Lake Brownwood State Park, as a fund-raiser for the park. Though the Early Chamber of Commerce is the official sponsor, some proceeds do go to the benefit of the park.
“Although this festival does not take place in the usual RV park like so many are used to, we have a wonderfully air-conditioned facility for the playing, and, plenty of RV parking for everyone,” said Charlotte Parrack, TBC promoter.
For those who don’t have to come far and who don’t need RV hookups, the festival is “just a great deal,” Parrack said.
“We want people to come, there is some really great music, top-quality family entertainment. People just need to bring their lawn chairs and come and enjoy the music.”
To find out more about the bands and the schedule, a Web site has been created, and can be found at www.texasbluegrasscelebration.com.