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Bluegrass in the Ko'olaus Hawaii

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Bluegrass in the Ko'olausKaneohe, HI -- Bluegrass in the Ko'olaus, a weekend event that features homemade bluegrass and traditional music in a spectacular setting, will take place at Kaneohe's Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden from Friday, April 13 through Monday, April 15. The event, hosted by Bluegrass Hawaii Traditional & Bluegrass Music Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is FREE, though donations are welcome.

A special page devoted to the event has been added to the society's website and includes the workshop schedule and other important information.

Inspired by Mainland bluegrass and old-time music festivals, the family-friendly, all-acoustic event will feature a variety of activities, including unplugged performances by local and mainland bluegrass bands, songwriting and vocal workshops, and a Sunday morning gospel sing. The hugely popular Band Scramble activity will also be repeated.

The event kicks off with Friday night's Potluck Supper and Open No-Mic. Saturday's activities will kick off with a vocal harmony workshop presented by the Third Street Band from Washington State, and a Slow Jam with Bob Schornstheimer. Premiere Oahu bluegrass ensemble The Saloon Pilots will conduct a session on band dynamics and present an unplugged performance, followed by sets from the North Shore Ramblers, Ko'olau Kountry, and the Bluegrass Barnstormers, all Hawaii bands.

Sunday's activities will feature a Gospel Sing led by the Third Street Band, and beginners' workshops on banjo, autoharp, and fiddle, led by Dan Monte Calvo, Rene Berthiaume, and Virginia Hayes. The Band Scramble, in which all the musicians at the event will be grouped into "bands," given time to rehearse, and then perform before an appreciative (and forgiving) audience, will be a highlight of the day. All workshops are offered free of charge, though donations are welcome.

Bluegrass Hawaii's first Pickin' Weekend was held at Ho'omaluhia in September 2009 and attracted about 100 people, including a few from the Neighbor Islands. The group's second event, held in spring 2010, attracted a crowd of about 250, including a group of bluegrass aficionados from Oregon who traveled to O'ahu specifically for the bluegrass. Visitors from Canada, Oregon, Washington State, the Big Island, Maui and Kauai are expected to attend the April event.

Bluegrass Hawaii has reserved Ho'omaluhia's Kahua Nui pavilion and camping area for its exclusive use. The event will be held Rain or Shine and will begin on Friday (participants may begin jamming and/or setting up tents when the park opens at 9 a.m.; the Pickin' Potluck will kick off at 6:30 p.m.); campers are welcome to spend Sunday night at the park and help with clean-up on Monday. The park closes at 4 p.m. on Monday.

Campers must bring all they need for the weekend, including food, beverages, coolers, flashlights, tents, warm clothing and bedding. For information, camping sign-up, and a schedule of events and activities, visit or contact Mike Spengel at or 623-4519.

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