Oil Country Bluegrass Festival will be held Feb. 24-26

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Venango County and Oil City Arts are teaming up to host what will be Oil City’s 10th annual Oil Country Bluegrass Festival.  This annual event will be held Friday through Sunday, Feb. 24-26, at the Days Inn located at 1 Seneca St., Oil City.  All proceeds will benefit the sponsoring nonprofit organizations.

The prior nine festivals have been extremely successful, according to Cinnamon Evans, one of the festival coordinators.  Each year, many stellar bluegrass bands from throughout the region have
donated their time and talent, drawing near capacity crowds to the three-day event, she added.  Additionally, many local eateries or businesses have experienced an increase in business during the festival weekend, she said.

This year’s festival performances will take place at approximately 40-minute intervals.  The festival will hours will be from 6 to 10:30 p.m. Friday.  Performances will begin at 1 p.m. and run until 10:45 p.m. Saturday and from 9 to 11:15 a.m. Sunday.

This year the festival will be offering the “History of Bluegrass” at 12:30 p.m. Saturday by Bob Artis, Lou Stiver and Lew Scheinman.  The program “will give our guests a look at the History of Bluegrass in the western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas,” Evans said.

All bluegrass bands that take part will be donating their time to benefit the sponsoring entities.

“We are again extremely fortunate to have so many outstanding bluegrass bands in our region.  It is wonderful that so many of them will again be participating again in our annual festival, both to
benefit a worthy cause and to bring bluegrass music to the forefront,” Evans said.  “This event also ties in nicely with Oil City’s ongoing arts-revitalization efforts and activities.  Many of the bands have been offering their talents for all 10 years, and we cannot thank them enough.”

Emcees for the weekend will include, Dr. Brad Fell, Dan Ferzo, who is cochair of the event, Ron Shoup and Cinnamon Evans.  Sound is being provided by Jeff Corbet.  The bands will leave with a
recording of their 30-minute performance which some have used in their CDs, Evans said.  Also, there will be photography by Greg Knox, who donates his talents to show case the bands performing, she added.  Bands that have committed to performing at this year’s festival include Southside StringKings, Pine Valley Boys, Earth Angel, Echo Valley, Border Ride, Well Strung, Slab
Furnace Roadies, Barrett Brothers/Family Band, Keep off the Grass, Allegheny Drifters, Cassy Powley, Mocking Bird Morning, Midnight Drive, and Lonesome Lost & Foggy, just to name a few.

Most performances will take place on the fifth floor of the Days Inn in the Riverview Ballroom.  Other performances will take in other areas of the hotel, including some pick-up band performances in the Drake Rooms, lounge and other first floor areas.  Attendees will also need to remember that no outside chairs are permitted on the 5th floor.  All performances are open and free to the public.  The CASA of Venango County and Oil City Arts will benefit from monies raised from half and half drawings, a guitar raffle, a mandolin raffle, a banjo raffle, basket raffles, and T-shirt sales.
This year’s T-shirt design was by Andy Leer, a band member of Lonesome, Lost and Foggy. Some of the cookies are being provided by the Venango Technology School’s culinary students and area bakers.

“Although the event is free and open to the public donations are appreciated. We hope those who attend will help with their support,” Evans said.  Many energetic CASA, Arts Council, and community volunteers will be on hand to help with the three-day festival, Evans said.  Youths will be setting up chairs prior to the festival starting and doing the Sunday tear down.  They are from
Pathways.  CASA volunteer coordinator Gina Graham said, “it is great to have the kids help set up and tear down, we even play some bluegrass music so they can experience a different sound. It has surprised the kids that they like the music.”

Evans said the hotel management will be giving special lodging rates for the festival.  Food will be available at the hotel, with Friday evening fifth floor specials, a Saturday evening buffet, in the lounge as well as on the fifth floor at various times during the festival.  She added that food is also available at numerous other surrounding restaurants or cafes in town.  “Bluegrass festival-goers can also take the opportunity to enjoy shopping at local businesses, Transit Artist Studios and community specialty shops,” she said.  “We are looking forward to a fabulous ‘10 years of Bluegrass in Oil Country.’  We ‘the committee’ have worked hard to make sure attendees will be provided with amazing music entertainment.  Those who are lodging at the Days Inn will receive a hospitality bag filled with information about the festival, our sponsors, tourism opportunities, and information about our community,” Evans said.

Individuals needing more information about the festival may contact the following individuals by email Cinnamon Evans at director.venangocasal@gmail.com; Dan Ferzo at danferzo@hotmail.com or by visiting www.casaofvenangocounty.org or liking Oil Country Bluegrass Festival on Facebook.