BIG BEAVER – Bluegrass fans will love this.
The January Ice Jam, a free, two-day indoor bluegrass music festival, takes place this Friday and Saturday at a new and nearby location, the Ramada by Wyndham Beaver Falls hotel.
“Bluegrass music, fun, family, and tradition ― that is what makes the January Ice Jam the huge success it has been for the past 25 years,” Amy George, co-founder of the event, said.
Held previous years at the Days Inn in Butler County, which was sold last year, the festival moves to the Wyndham Beaver Falls ballroom, at 7195 Eastwood Drive, in Big Beaver, offering 24 bluegrass acts live on stage.
Notable acts include Echo Valley, a New Galilee family band that’s played the main stage at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Arts Festival and at the Dollywood theme park, Tiger Maple String Band, which has opened for national acts at venues like Jergel’s Rhythm Grille and Mr. Smalls Theatre, and the Country Strings with nationally touring upright bass player Jennifer Ann Wichryk.
The festival’s best “get” might be Middleground, performing both Friday and Saturday, gearing up for its appearance in the Society for The Preservation of Bluegrass Music Association competition in Nashville.
The January Ice Jam is considered a “hotel takeover,” where bluegrass musicians and attendees from the tri-state area and beyond take over the entire hotel,” George said.
“The new venue is much larger than before, but we are almost at capacity. As of the last check in with hotel staff, there were less than 25 rooms remaining of the 141 rooms in the new location,” George said.
Performers on this year’s Ice Jam stage will start Friday at 7 p.m. and music will continue until 10 p.m. On Saturday, music begins again at 1 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. New bands take the stage every 30 minutes to perform their favorite bluegrass music.
Although the event is free, money is raised through basket raffles, 50/50 raffles, instrument raffles, donations and merchandise sales that benefit the Bluegrass Relief Fund, a charitable organization dedicated to placing financial and emotional support where it is needed within the local bluegrass music community.
“Over the past 25 years, we have raised nearly $100,000 to help support countless friends of the bluegrass community,” George said, adding all musicians and event staff proudly volunteer their time and talents to ensure the event’s continued success.
Bluegrass Ice Jam schedule
Friday, Jan. 20
7 p.m. – Glass Run Road
7:30 p.m. – LandLine Bluegrass
8 p.m. – Breakline
8:30 p.m.- Middleground
9 p.m. – Bits ‘n Pieces
9:30 p.m. – Matt Efaw &. RFD
Saturday, Jan. 21
Noon – N.A. Fiddlers
12:30 p.m. – Springtime Hill Bluegrass
1 p.m. – Steve Ludwig and the Casual Hobos
1:30 p.m. – Bits ‘n Pieces
2 p.m. – John & Wendy Mackin Band
2:30 p.m. – The Country Strings
3 p.m. – The New Border Ride
3:30 p.m. – Homegrown Grass
4 p.m. – Middleground
4:30 p.m. – Cornbinders
5 p.m. – Fern Hollow
5:30 p.m. – Midlife Crisis
6 p.m. – Better Late Bluegrass Band
6:30 p.m. – Hidden Drive
7 p.m. – Echo Valley
7:30 p.m. – Lonesome Lost & Foggy
8 p.m. – Sweaty Already String Band
8:30 p.m. – Tiger Maple String Band
9 p.m. – Tug Creek
9:30 p.m. – Dirty Old Mill
For more information on this charitable event, contact George at 724-816-7534 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information or to make donations to the Bluegrass Relief Fund, visit bluegrassrelieffund.org.
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Scott Tady is entertainment editor at The Times and easy to reach at email@example.com.
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