Bluegrass music was born in the '40s from the fast fingers of mandolin player Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys, and from there quickly took its place as a cornerstone of American music. As an offshoot of country, it's often associated with the South, but Minnesotans who love the twang of the banjo or tight climb of the mandolin need look no further than the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association. Not only does the group support a thriving statewide bluegrass community, it also puts together whole weekends of great bluegrass. Attendees to the Winter Festival didn't need to actually venture to a stage to enjoy the music; jam sessions cropped up spontaneously throughout the fest, sometimes featuring musicians so young they could barely hold on to their instruments. With four days and five stages, MBOTMA's summer festival promises bigger and better things. Look for national acts like Cajun pickers Balfa Toujours and the more traditional Mountain Heart, as well as top-notch local talent like the Roe Family Singers and old-time country gals the Ditch Lillies. Camping available. For tickets and info call 800.635.3037 or visit www.minnesotabluegrass.org.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 9-midnight; Sun., Aug. 10, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Starts: Aug. 7. Continues through Aug. 9, 2008