Here are a few articles written about our sweet little music festival. We really appreciate the attention that we get from our local press! 

*Additionally, if you are a member of the press and would like to write about the Ossipee Valley Music Festival, please call 207-625-8656*  

Up from bluegrass roots

A great Portland Press Herald article to kick off the 2011 festival, by Ray Routhier

Bluegrass festivals and bluegrass bands seem to be getting bigger all the time.

So big, in fact, that some are outgrowing the name.

Take The Infamous Stringdusters, a band that plays original bluegrass-style music on traditional instruments.

"Playing bluegrass instruments doesn't necessarily make you a bluegrass band. We're clearly derivative of bluegrass, but we're part of a bigger movement of open-minded acoustic music," said Chris Pandolfi, banjo player for The Infamous Stringdusters.

So it's appropriate that the band is one of the headliners at this weekend's Ossipee Valley Music Festival in South Hiram, about an hour west of Portland.

The festival attracts bluegrass musicians and fans from all over, and for many years had "bluegrass" in its title. But founder and organizer Bill Johnson -- a local home builder and acoustic music fan -- says the word was taken out of the title about three years ago to better reflect the wide range of music presented.

"We've always been a little left of bluegrass," said Johnson, who started the festival in 1999. "We're basically acoustic-based Americana music."

Besides The Infamous Stringdusters, who will play at 3 and 8:15 p.m. Saturday, other headliners include bluegrass veteran Peter Rowan and The Kruger Brothers. Rowan began his career in the 1960s in the band of bluegrass legend Bill Monroe, and has played with David Grisman and Jerry Garcia at various times. The Kruger Brothers, originally from Switzerland, headline festivals around the country. Rowan and his band will perform at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, after The Infamous Stringdusters; The Kruger Brothers will perform at 9:30 p.m. Friday.

Some of the more than three dozen performers scheduled to play over the four days of the festival include Eilen Jewell, The Parkington Sisters, The Frank Vignola Quartet (including former members of Les Paul's band), Red Molly, The Spinney Brothers, The Wiyos, Sierra Hull, The Hillbenders, Miss Tess and The Bon Ton Parade, and Old Sledge.

There will be five performances to kick off the festival tonight -- including The Wiyos and Red Molly -- then about 15 to 20 performances per day on Friday and Saturday, and about a dozen on Sunday.

The festival will also include workshops, dances, late-night jams and several contests that feature performances, including competitions for bands, songwriting and flat-picking.

Johnson, whose family runs Apple Acres farm in South Hiram, started the festival in 1999 as a "glorified picking session" for friends. But now the festival has corporate sponsors, and drew 5,000 fans last year.

The festival is getting well-known among bluegrass and acoustic musicians. Pandolfi has played the festival before as a member of other groups.

"I'm excited to get there again," he said. "I like getting out to all these different festivals, from the ones with 40,000 people to the ones with a couple thousand. That way, you get to reach out to a lot of different kinds of people."

The Infamous Stringdusters are based in Charlottesville, Va., although some members live in Nashville. The band recorded its first album, "Fork in the Road," in 2007.

In 2010, the band was nominated for a Grammy Award for best country instrumental for the song "Magic #9."

It was probably helpful in gaining that nomination that the band's music is not strictly defined as bluegrass.

"We didn't win, but we did go, and we had a great time," said Pandolfi. "We don't mind being called bluegrass, but unfortunately, when you throw out a genre, you do nothing but close doors. We're just trying to reach a larger audience, just trying to make a living."

Here is the link to the original article and some great photos



Lots of pickin' at Americana music festival

Another nice article about our 2011 Music Festival by the Portland Press Herald By Ellie Cole

SOUTH HIRAM - Mark Gardner of Plympton, Mass., didn't seem too worried about the heat this weekend. His recreational vehicle had air conditioning.

Not all of the campers were blessed with the technology in their tents or RVs, but that didn't stop them from setting up camp for the Ossipee Valley Music Festival at the Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds this weekend.

Back for its 13th year, the event, which used to be called a bluegrass festival, changed its name to reflect the broader range of music now offered. There is still a lot of bluegrass in the lineup, but the music is what founder and director Bill Johnson would call "acoustic-based Americana music."

Johnson said putting on the festival gives him something interesting to do. "It's like throwing a party for 5,000 people," he said.

Many people return year after year, like Tim McLaughlin at the Friendly River Music booth, one of the vendors selling musical instruments.

"It's fun in the sun but low-key," said McLaughlin, back for his fourth festival. "Some of the talent here can compare with Bela Fleck and others. This is world-class music."

This year the main stage boasted a new addition, a set that resembled an old country store with painted signs, worn bicycles, sunflowers and muddy boots.

Responding to popular demand, Johnson decided to add a battle of the bands. After roughly 20 groups from as far away as Pennsylvania submitted applications and samples to the contest, he narrowed the list down to six bands, five of which showed up Friday for the contest.

Each group played three songs, and the judges, including Rounder Records President Ken Irwin, deliberated before choosing two finalists from Boston, Three Tall Pines and Chasing Blue, to play another piece. The tall ones came out on top.

"This is a milestone for the band," said Dan Bourdeau, one of the founding members. Their second album, "All That's Left," is due to be released in August.

As winners of the contest, Three Tall Pines will get eight hours of recording time at The Studio in Portland, and will have a paid place on the stage at next year's festival.

The winner's music will mix with the 40 other groups that Johnson brings in from all over the country. Sierra Hull, who has been on Grand Ole Opry radio and television shows and played with Alison Krauss and other top musicians, came from Tennessee.

The festival began Thursday and will run until Sunday evening.

Music will play constantly throughout the weekend, from the two stages at the festival to little "pickin' " sessions around the campfire. Johnson said that when he woke up early Friday, the music hadn't stopped and people were still strumming and singing away.

Gardner, the Plympton resident who came to enjoy the music and spend time with friends, said the gathering really picks up steam around 8 or 9 p.m. when everyone starts playing and dancing.

"It's a great pickin' festival," he said.

Click on the link below for the original article, a nice video and some great photos!