Manjimup Annual Bluegrass & Old Time Music Weekend.
The 9th Annual Manjimup Bluegrass and Old Timey Music Weekend was held over the weekend of September 25th – 28th in Western Australia. Primary sponsorship was provided by Regional Arts via the Covid Recovery grants programme aimed at assisting regional artists, and with help from Healthway’s Act-Belong-Commit programme. The organisers were able to comply with the requirements of social distancing and being covid-safe to bring a fun filled weekend of live music and workshops to an enthusiastic group of participants.
Respected veterans of the Australian and international bluegrass community and festival circuit, Bluegrass Parkway were the main drawcard of the event, leading many of the workshops and playing several concerts and smaller sessions over the weekend. They were ably supported by the Wayward Earls, and Martin Cropper, ensuring a high standard of entertainment and education throughout the weekend.
Workshops on guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, double bass, autoharp, and singing harmonies were well attended and warmly received. Paul Duff’s workshop A Luthiers Perspective, which he noted was deliberately titled as vaguely as he could make it, provided a wonderful history of the development of the mandolin, and Bill Monroe’s musical vision leading to the emergence of Bluegrass music.
West aussie group, The Elderberries led an Oh Brother Where Art Thou? gospel singing workshops and later held an old time favourites sing-a-long with an enthusiastic groups of supporters. The annual Sunday evening Blackboard Concert gave everybody a chance to show off their chops and what they had learned and was well received by all.
Buskers and other vendors filled the town centre for a market on the Saturday morning and the sounds of people jamming and singing floated out from all corners of the town. Volunteers helped people to find their way to the various venues and ensure compliance with the requirements to be covid safe by recording attendees and contact details at events, keeping seating appropriately distanced, and performing the necessary cleaning between workshops.
Everybody chipped in to make the festival run smoothly and it did. A big shout-out to the organisers and especially Mary Nixon, for continuing to make the Manjimup weekend Western Australia’s premiere bluegrass and old timey music event.