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Bluegrass Festival Coming Friday

National headliners are scheduled to take the stage.

Big names in bluegrass are dusting off their banjos and heading to Old Town.

The 11th-annual Old Town Temecula Bluegrass Festival will feature a dozen bands in various venues through the area.

The event is scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. Friday at Sweet Lumpy’s BBQ with a performance by Highway 138.

The Grascals, winner of the Instrumental Group of the Year award from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America, is set to play at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.

The Grascals was Dolly Parton’s recording and touring band in 2004. The group also topped the Bluegrass Album chart for four weeks this year, and it won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2005 and the Entertainer of the Year award in 2006 and 2007. Tickets for the show is $20.

Three-time National Fiddle Champion Byron Berline is scheduled to play with his band. He recorded with the Byrds, the Eagles, the Rolling Stones, the Band, Bob Dylan, John Denver, Elton John, Linda Ronstadt, Rod Stewart, Vince Gill, Arlo Guthrie, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Earl Scruggs and Mason Williams.

Also on the program is Bluegrass Etc., which is scheduled to perform twice a day during the weekend. The group puts on more than 200 shows a year in more than 18 countries.

The band includes mandolin and guitar player John Moore, banjo and fiddle player Dennis Caplinger and bassist Bill Bryson.

Hunt Family Bluegrass is also slated to perform. The father of the family and leader of the band, Terry Hunt, grew up in the Ozarks of North Arkansas where he learned to play at an early age. His wife, Kay, plays bass. His son Andrew, 18, plays mandolin and fiddle, and his other son, Jonathan, 15, plays banjo and sings harmony.

Aslo slated to hit the theater’s stage are Sligo Rags, the Girlz, Fine Line, Windy Ridge, Bluegrass Brethren and Next Generation. Local bluegrass group Older than Dirt is set to play near Rosa’s Cantina on Saturday and a jam session is scheduled at 5 p.m. at Embassy Suites, the host hotel for the event.

A concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater will include three performers: the Byron Berline Band, Bluegrass Etc. and Silverado Bluegrass Brethren. Tickets cost $15.

Sunday’s free concerts include Byron Berline, Bluegrass Etc., Silterado Bluegrass Brethren, Windy Ridge, the Hunt Family Bluegrass, Sligo Rags and the Girlz. The performances will take place in various outdoor spots throughout Old Town.

Free workshops for musicians will happen on Saturday and Sunday in the Mercantile building, a free-standing venue on the Old Town Temecula Community Theater’s campus. Band leaders, such as Dennis Caplinger, David Burns of Sligo Rags, Byron Berline, the Hunt family and John Moore, are scheduled to lead workshops.

For more information, call 951-693-3952 or visit the website by clicking here.

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