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Bluegrass festival to take spotlight again

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Spring is nearing and so is the annual Granville Johnson Bluegrass Festival in North Vernon.

The 11th edition is 7:30 p.m. March 15 at the Park Theatre Civic Centre.

“In spite of the (bad) weather (this winter), half of the tickets are already sold out,” said Bill Reichenbach, a volunteer and the ticketmaster at the 332-seat theater.

“It’s sold-out every year, but this year looks like it’s going to be even bigger. They’re bringing in a band from Florida; and, of course, we are also going to have some of our own area bluegrass bands as well.”

The Dread Clampitt bluegrass band will headline this year’s event. Based in Grayton Beach, Fla., Dread Clampitt is gaining national recognition for its music that is influenced by rock and

roll, blues, jazz and Louisiana bayou funk, according to the band’s website.

Area bands that will perform include Blue Moon, Hoosier St. Unit and New Balance.

The music festival began in 2004 soon after the untimely death of local musician Granville Johnson. Intended as a memorial to Johnson, the festival also was designed to showcase and preserve bluegrass music.

Profits from the festival are donated to the Granville Johnson Memorial Scholarship Fund to help local young musicians further their education.

All tickets must be reserved prior to the show.

“Every year this thing is sold out and every year I catch the devil from people who are mad because they couldn’t get tickets,” Reichenbach said. “People, don’t wait till the last minute if you want to be at the festival.”

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