Archive for Friday, February 4, 2005

Free State Music Festival showcases Americana sound

Fourth year features band from ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’

February 4, 2005


Time to restring those banjos and polish that oversize belt buckle.

The Free State Music Festival is again serving up a two-day dose of bluegrass and Americana music. Held at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive, the festival will provide a steady supply of music along with crafts and instrument vendors.

"When you start at a venue like this, it takes a while to get the word out, but it really seems to have taken off," says Alan Prater, event coordinator.

Now in its fourth year, the event will showcase seven acts. Headlining is The Nashville Bluegrass Band, an ensemble featured on the Grammy-winning soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

"They've been playing for several years, and it was always good," Prater explains. "But since getting onto that movie, they are a lot more notable."

Also performing are The Wilders, a Kansas City group that offers a spicy allotment of high-energy country; The Midday Ramblers, a Lawrence take on Bill Monroe-style bluegrass; Bluestem, an acoustic mix of western, bluegrass, gospel and rock; and newcomers The McLemores, Americana Music Academy Honky Tonk Sextet and Possum Nation.

With: The Nashville Bluegrass Band (above), The Wilders, The Midday Ramblers, Bluestem, The McLemores, Americana Music Academy Honky Tonk Sextet and Possum Nation.When: 2 p.m.-11 p.m. today; 1:30 p.m.-11 p.m. SaturdayWhere: Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Dr.Tickets: $10-$30 (all ages)Ticket info: 841-7077More information:

Prater is optimistic about the 2005 event and the crowd turnout, which he thinks will range from 600 to 700 patrons.

"I would guess that 60 percent will be local and the rest from out of town," he says. "We're bringing in bands that people have heard on movies. So we know that is bound to help us."

Features intern Natalie Bogan can be reached at 832-6317.

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