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Bluegrass on the Grass

August 27, 1992

Picking and fiddling will resound through the oak tree-filled Kenny Grove Park near Fillmore on Saturday during an all-day festival that includes top-notch musicians and storytellers.

The first--and hoped to be annual--"Bluegrass in the Park" is the brainchild of Santa Paula resident Raymond Crispin, who has nabbed some of the area's best acts to perform this weekend. Ventura County's own the Acousticats, led by Phil Salazar, will headline the event.

"The quality of the other three bands performing is equal to our lead group," Crispin said. Other groups include the Floyd County Boys, Grey Eagle and Dave Dickey and the Slover Mountains.

While the concert gets under way at 3 p.m., much more will be going on beforehand. Festival-goers are invited to bring their own instruments and take part in a number of demonstrations headed by some of the band members. The seminars will cover such instruments as the flailing banjo (played with two fingers instead of three fingers), lap dulcimer, guitar, mandolin, fiddle and bass. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the demonstrations will start about 1 p.m. At about 10 a.m., six members of the Ventura County Storytellers League will spin yarns for the kids.

Another festival highlight will be what Crispin calls "a band scramble." It works like this: The names of all who wish to take part, festival-goers included, are jotted down and dropped into a hat and groups of five are then drawn.

"It's a pick-up band of sorts," Crispin said. "You have an hour to practice together and then you perform. You get some crazy things goin' on. There might be a super player who ends up with somebody who's been playing the fiddle for a week," he said, chuckling. "It takes a lot of courage."

Also performing during the afternoon will be some of the top young students of Phil Salazar. "They'll blow your socks when you hear them play," Crispin said. "This will be the new crop of players we'll be watching over the next 10 to 15 years."

Park gates will open at 8 a.m. and festivities will last through 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to bring blankets, chairs and a picnic lunch. Foods and refreshments will be available. Admission is $5 and includes all activities. Kenny Grove Park is at 823 Oak St. near Fillmore. Head out California 126 and watch for the large park signs posted in both east and west directions. For more information, call 524-0750.

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