— The hills of Versailles State Park will soon be alive with the sound of bluegrass music during the 24th annual VSP Bluegrass Festival Oct. 6-7. “Twelve local and regional bands will gather for the festival along the Versailles Lake to share their love of the Americana music,” says Katherine Taul, Ripley County Tourism Bureau executive director.
Friday night, Oct. 5, bluegrass fans can head to the Ripley County Welcome Center, 220 E. U.S. 50, Versailles, for an open jam session on the porch (inside if the weather’s not fitting). Music lovers of any level can bring their instruments and join in, sing along or just sit back and listen.
Saturday morning the festival will start an hour later than in past years at 11 a.m. with the southern Indiana band Hoosier Hills. Happy Valley Bluegrass, musicians mostly from the Batesville/Oldenburg area, will play at noon. Rural Route 2, a well-known Dillsboro group, performs at 1 p.m.
Whiskey Bent Valley will again be coming all the way up from Pewee, Ky., to entertain at 2 p.m. Saturday. A local favorite with members from southeast Indiana and Cincinnati, Mount Pleasant String Band will start their melodies at 3 p.m. A group that recently moved back to the Hoosier state, Blue Mafia, will begin at 4 p.m. Closing the festival that day will be Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers, an all-female band from Cincinnati.
Sunday morning, Oct. 7, the event will open at 10 a.m. with Waynetown favorite Jim Denman with his original songs and worship time. Another fest favorite, Lost Mill String Band, originally from this region, will play at 11 a.m. New this year will be the Indiana Boys from Monroe and Brown counties, playing at noon.
Tony Holt and the Wildwood Valley Boys from Milan will be home from touring and back at the festival, hitting the stage at 1 p.m. James White and Deer Creek from southern Indiana will bring on their music to clog by at 2 p.m. Milan-based Born Again, the tradition favorite to close the weekend, will play at 3 p.m.
Festival wrist bands will be available at the gate both Saturday and Sunday. The cost is $5 per day for the festival, plus the fee to get into the park ($5 for Indiana residents). Festival-goers are encouraged to bring family, friends and lawn chairs, but no alcohol. "Great food will be available,” Taul reports.
For more information, contact the Ripley County Tourism Bureau office at 888-747-5394.