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notre jeunesse !

by Brad Aubin

Cold, wet weather greeted music fans at the 33rd annual River Valley Bluegrass Jamboree Aug. 2 to 6, but that didn’t dampen spirits as over a thousand people stomped the wet grounds and enjoyed the top calibre entertainment.

Bluegrass park owner and event organizer Tony DeBoer was pleased with the turnout, noting many made it a family outing. “We have a good amount of people there again over the weekend... and as many kids as we’ve ever had at the park. Bucky Beaver, our mascot who entertains the kids, had his hands full dancing, singing, and playing music with them. We also had an Amazing Race for them, and it seemed that everyone had a great time!”

The event featured a wide range of musicians, from locals to international stars such as Bull Harman & Bull’s Eye and Sideline. Bands from around the area included River Valley Grass, Hard Ryde, Canucky Bluegrass Boys and many more.

“It’s one of the reasons I stretch out the festival over five days,” says DeBoer. “It gives the local bands an opportunity to play more. A lot of them are part time, so it’s nice to see them play multiple shows. All the bands were great, but the professionals that showed up had the whole package. They were unbelievable and full of pizazz.”

The jam packed long weekend also featured guitar, fiddle, and banjo workshops, a bingo, several food vendors and many different activities for both adults and kids – all on a picturesque riverfront site.

After 30-plus years of hosting festivals, it’s fair to say that DeBoer has a routine down when it comes to planning. “It’s a lot of fun – and we have a good idea of what we’re doing,” he acknowledges. DeBoer has been hosting festivals in River Valley since the mid 80s, and around the province before that. “The park is a perfect atmosphere for these kinds of festivals. I tell them that it’s as much their place as it is mine. They’re a part of it... they respect it, they love it just as much as me. It’s my little piece of heaven out there and I try to cater to everyone and make sure everyone has a good time.”

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River Valley’s own’ River Valley Grass’ were one of the many bands that graced the stage during last week’s 33rd annual Bluegrass Jamboree.

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