50th Charlotte Bluegrass Festival underway

The Kody Norris Show at the 2022 Charlotte Bluegrass Festival – photo © Bill Warren

The Charlotte Bluegrass Festival is celebrating its 50th year at the Eaton County Fairgrounds in Charlotte, Michigan. Wes Pettinger took over promoting the festival several years ago and is continuing the top flight entertainment on the stage.

Thursday was kicked off by a newer Michigan band called Bridge. The band is a group of seasoned musicians from the Flint area.

They were followed by what Wes dubbed the 50th Charlotte Bluegrass band. The band featured some of the region’s best known musicians. Fiddler Isaac Smith toured with Marty Raybon for a time. Banjo player Jeremie Cole leads the Harbourtown band and promotes the Marshall Bluegrass  Festival. The duo of Brad and Lori Lambert on guitar and bass front the New Outlook band and promote the Howlin’ at the Moon festival in Wapakoneta, Ohio. The duo on dobro and mandolin rounded a solid performance.

Host band Harbourtown was up next who later closed out the evening show. They have been a staple at many festivals in the region. They were joined by new members Jennifer Zapolnik on bass and Troy Cole on snare. Banjo player Dana Cupp was the final banjo picker for Bill Monroe, and went on to play with the Osborne Brothers.

The Kody Norris Show burst onto the Charlotte stage for the first time. This group is filled with top-notch musicians that are great entertainers. They put on one of the highest energy shows seen anywhere. This is one of the “must see” bands.

Friday and Saturday bring the Amanda Cook Band, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, Volume Five, Authentic Unlimited, Schlitz Creek, The Kevin Prater Band, Special C, and The Cleverlys to the stage. There will also be workshops both mornings. Fiddlin’ Dixie and Lil’ Friends host the Kid’s Corner on Saturday morning. The Southeast Michigan Bluegrass Music Association will provide its instrument petting zoo for kids of all ages.

The campground pickers keep the music going throughout the day and night, so join the fun!

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