The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

June 23, 2014

Music turns canyon 'blue' for day (with VIDEO and PHOTO ALBUM)

FULTON, Ill. -- Summer began on a high note Saturday as the second installment of the Fulton Bluegrass Festival unfolded without a hitch.

With more than 500 in attendance at Heritage Canyon in Fulton, Saturday’s festival reassured organizer Bob Whitten that what he’s doing is appreciated by the community.

Video: The Way Down Wanderers rock Heritage Canyon at the Fulton Bluegrass Festival.

“It’s such a beautiful day,” Whitten said. “Everyone is having a great time and everything is running so smoothly. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Weather played a big role in Saturday’s success as showers and storms showed potential early, but as one guest proclaimed “we parted the skies” and the canyon stayed dry throughout the day.

The other major success of Saturday was none other than the music.

With bands traveling from Wisconsin; Peoria, Illinois; Dubuque and the Quad- Cities, guests heard a wide variety of eclectic and modern bluegrass and folk music, even singing along to some of the songs they remembered from last year.

Moline, Illinois, natives and husband and wife Paul Reyes and Melissa Sharp even jumped to the front of the stage to share a dance as the all-female group the Monarchs played an old-fashioned love song.

“We have had a great time today,” said Sharp as Reyes continued to enjoy the music. “This was our first time here and we loved it.”

“If there is a place with good music and good food, you can usually find me there,” added Reyes.

That sentiment was echoed by many in the crowd Saturday, who over the course of the Bluegrass Festival’s two-year history have created bonds with other bluegrass enthusiasts.

One such enthusiast is Harry Bielema, a long-time bluegrass lover to whom Whitten dedicated Saturday’s festival, adding that without the support of him and his family, it may have never happened.

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