Saturday, September 18, 2021

Lake Placid brings bluegrass festival to town

A brisk fall wind fills your lungs, leaves show hues of red, brown and gold and pedestrians border the bustling stores and restaurants of Main Street. The Lake Placid Bluegrass Jam is near.

On Oct. 25, the Lake Placid Bluegrass Jam will feature well-known names in bluegrass, including Grammy-winning Sam Bush as the event headliner.

Bush is known as “The King of Newgrass” and has been honored by the Americana Music Association and the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Also playing that day are the 52 Pick-Up, Eastbound Jesus, Joe Mullins & the Radio Brothers, Big Leg Emma, Hot Day at the Zoo, The Gibson Brothers, The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Amy Helm and the Del McCoury Band.

The Olympic Regional Development Authority, ORDA, is responsible for planning the festival that will take place in the 1932 rink of the Olympic Center. The doors open at noon, and the event will start at 12:30 p.m.

Communications Manager Jon Lundin said this is the first bluegrass-themed concert ORDA has brought to the village of Lake Placid.

Both the Director of Events Katie Million and General Manager Dennis Allen are responsible for booking the bands.

“It’s really a fabulous lineup,” Million said.

Advance tickets to the Bluegrass Jam are $55 and tickets will be sold at the door for $65. VIP admission tickets are available to only 300 people.

The benefits of this VIP status include a special viewing area, a VIP-only bar, a limited edition poster, a T-shirt and a constant supply of water and sports drinks. The prices for these VIP tickets are $80, and $90 at the door.

Lundin said the VIP-style upgrade can be compared to first-class seating on an airplane — instead of peanuts, you get shrimp and the strawberries.

While not everyone is a fan of bluegrass, Lundin said “There are different styles of bluegrass here, and I’m confident that people will find something that they like.”

ORDA’s target number of attendees is 2,000 people, a projected mix of locals and those from out of town.

“I think when people hear the word, ‘bluegrass,’ they automatically think of their grandfather’s music, but that is not true anymore, and what they call ‘newgrass,’ is much more rockin’ and really fun.

“Bluegrass, right now, crosses a lot of genres. There’s the old, traditional bluegrass music, but this newgrass, I think if people aren’t sure about it, they should give it a try.”

Bill Billerman works in Lake Placid, and also organizes concerts on Mirror Lake. Billerman said, “Hopefully, (students) will come out and support it, so it can be an annual event.”

Million said that in an attempt to modernize the genre, the newgrass bands have added instruments like drums and keyboards as opposed to the more traditional, string-based bluegrass bands.

Owner of Moon Tree Design, a gift shop in Lake Placid, Denise Hendreooks said she looks forward to the event.

“I think it’s a great idea. The more venues we have in town, the better,” Hendren said. “It’s good for business.”

“By making this successful and backing a festival like this, (it) will ensure that we will be able to do this for years to come,” Lundin said.

ORDA hopes for more concerts in Lake Placid in all kinds of genres of music. “We’re always looking at the opportunity to have live music when possible,” Million said.

Email Tim Lyman at

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