Festival Report: The Winter Village Bluegrass Festival

by John and Katie Brutcher

Once again, the La Tourelle Resort and Spa, hosted the 3rd Annual Winter Village Bluegrass Festival in Ithaca NY.

The festival kicked off with multiple workshops on Friday afternoon. I attended the fiddle workshop that Clayton Campbell, from the Gibson Brothers, held. The hour long workshop passed much too quickly.

After the workshops, the Gibson Brothers did an "unplugged" one hour session that included taking questions from the audience, playing requests and putting up with some friendly banter. Everyone was having a great time.

With a crackling fire blazing in the lobby, the Welcoming Reception, which offered some fine local wines and snacks, got started. Frank Solivan and another band member supplied some impromptu music, which was a nice surprise.

The evening concerts started off with Chris Stuart & Janet Beazley Band. Chris co-wrote "Don't Throw Mama's Flowers Away" which won the IBMA's Song of the Year in 2009. The Gibson Brothers entertained us with not one, but two great sets. The emcee for the evening was our own CNYBA member Bill Knowlton.

John & I thought it was funny that the jamming wing of the hotel ended up being quiet and the quiet wing was where some of the other jams were taking place. Go figure. I tuckered out at 1 AM, but I heard John sneak back into the room at 2:30 AM!


Great coffee and roaring fireplaces, welcomed everyone back up for a second day of workshops on Saturday morning.

Paris Texas, featuring Bobby Henrie, started the afternoon concerts off. They are a well known Ithaca based band.

Della Mae was up next showcasing just a little of their talent, which was a great primer to what we could expect later at the Hangar Theater. What was really special, was a song they had learned while they were on tour of Central Asia. It was a beautiful number. I'm sorry I don't recall the title.
Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen really cranked it up with some hard driving, progressive bluegrass.

The main event on Saturday night at the Hangar Theater was nothing less than sensational. All the bands, Chris Stuart & Janet Beazley, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen and Della Mae, all received standing ovations.
At the end, Della Mae brought back all the performers for a final number. It was a thrill to experience the energy emanating in the theater.

John & I left the Saturday night jamming at 3:30 AM while a few die-hard jammers were still going.

We had a small contingency show up from our neck of the woods, so it was nice to see all you folks.

I personally want to thank my good friend Matt Zabinski for giving me some sheet music and a copy of his music theory. I'm still just a single note fiddler, but when you back me up doing harmony, you always make me sound and feeling like a million dollars. That's so encouraging. As for his wife, Barbara. . . enjoyed drinking wine with ya!

Next stop. . . FLORIDA!

See ya on the field,

John & Katie Brutcher


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