There's a sense of Americana in the interplay between fiddle and bass, and a driving force in the fast-picked mandolin and banjo that just can't be found outside of bluegrass. Local addicts of the genre flock to spots around the cities, such as Dulono's Pizza, the Malt Shop, and the Riverview Café, to get their weekly fixes. But a few times a year, the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association hosts an entire weekend orgy of the stuff, with workshops, jam sessions, and multi-stage concert extravaganzas. From all corners of the state come beginners, experts, and family bands hauling a dazzling array of instruments. They unpack, tune up, and play anywhere they can for hours. Listening to the impromptu collaborations alone is worth the ticket price, but these get-togethers are accompanied by unmatched local talent and nationally renowned guests, and bluegrass connoisseurs can shop for hard-to-find recordings from their favorite bands. This weekend's hoedown, dubbed the Harvest Jamboree, will be headlined by Nashville pickers the John Cowan band, and will feature a 12-band pick-off competition for a $1,000 prize. Go to www.minnesotabluegrass.org for more information.
Fri., Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sat., Nov. 22, 10-1 a.m.; Sun., Nov. 23, 10 a.m.-noon, 2008