The 2008 Harrietville Bluegrass Convention is scheduled for 14th to 16th November now in its 20th continuous year, the ‘early bird’ USA guest concert is scheduled for the evening of Thursday 13th from 8:00pm – 10:30pm.
The Harrietville Convention is presented by ‘Pickin’at the Piggery’, the Melbourne branch of the Bluegrass and Traditional Country Music Society of Australia, which was formed back in 1985. The small town of Harrietville was chosen as the site for the first convention as it was close enough to attend the weekend from Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne and attracting pickers from far further afield.
The Harrietville Bluegrass & Traditional Country Music Convention or Harrietville (as most festival goers call it) had its humble beginnings in the Bon Accord Resort, now called Mountain View Lodge. About 10 years ago, as attendances continued to grow, the convention was moved to the Feathertop Chalets. The move to Feathertop’s larger facilities provided workshop space, plenty of common rooms for jamming and a range of other facilities for children. Feathertop also featured a gymnasium, which was utilized as the convention’s concert hall in the early years. In more recent years, further growth in attendance required a larger concert venue, which was provided in the form of a Marquee. This was upgraded last year to the no-pole, insulated 600-seat capacity marquee with the extra cost being funded by a Thursday evening concert featuring a guest artist from the USA.
The convention continues to grow and conveners, Nick and Janet Dear advise that the convention venue is now planned for the Community Hall grounds opposite the General Store, where the same no-pole Marquee will be erected. There will be ample outdoor seating and shaded picking areas under the trees and down by the river. The format should be very much the same as in previous years, although the new site will be fenced to allow for one entrance gate where you can purchase convention passes. This will mean that the Marquee can be opened up at the sides (weather permitting). Conveners believe that this change of venue is timely and secures the future growth of the convention for the next few years.
Harrietville has featured a range of high profile bluegrass bands during its 20 year history. These have included many of our Australian bands along with international acts including, Bob Black, James King Band, Lonnie Hoppers, Dan Paisley and Southern Grass, Wayne Lewis, Joe Isaacs and many more – see full list below.
The change of venue will see workshops conducted in marquees, the Community Hall, Harrietville Hotel/Motel’s back dining room and other areas yet to be advised. This year’s convention will see marquees on site for all-night picking.
We can expect to see the usual sales tent for performer’s CD’s and an additional one for the instrument makers display. The new convention site will also feature a food van and EFTPOS facilities for convention pass sales will be available at the Community Hall grounds gate entrance.
For those who have not yet reserved their accommodation, there’s camping at the town of Freeburgh Tel: (03) 5750 1306 only 10kms down the road, and further accommodation is still available at Bright, which is 25kms from Harrietville.
Harrietville Guest Artist History Roll:
- 1994 – Lynn Morris and Marshall Wilborn
- 1995 – Barry and Holly Tashian, Ken Perlman
- 1996 – West Virginia String Band, Joe Dodds, Sallie Sublette, Rick McCracken, Greg Shupe, Frank Wakefield.
- 1997 – Roland White, Diane Bouska, Tony and Bill Ellis.
- 1998 – Jim Buchanan and Tom Saffell
- 1999 – Reed Martin, Scott Ainslie and Terry Burtyk
- 2000 – Balfa Toujours, Christine Balfa, Dirk Powell, Kevin Wimmer, CourtneyGranger, Joe Newberry.
- 2001 – Bob and Kirstie Black, Brad Leftwich, John and Michelle Law.
- 2002 – Lonnie Hoppers and BobLovitt, Dave O’Dell.
- 2003 – Wayne Lewis, Joe Isaacs and Kentucky, Aaron Till Scott Shipley, Rafe Steffanini.
- 2004 – The James King Band, Kevin Prater, Ben green, Adam Hayes, Jerry McNeely, Tom Sauber.
- 2005 – Lonnie Hoppers Joe Isaacs, Dan Jones, Bobby Taylor and Adnrew Dunlap.
- 2006 – Audie Blaylock and Redline with Daren Nicholson, Patrick McAvinue, Evan Ward, Barry Reed and Dave Bing, Dave O’Dell
- 2007 – Dan Paisley and Southern Grass
This years International artists: (pictured above)
- Nate Leath
- RFD Boys
- Jordan Tice
- Patuxent Partners