It’s time to get out of your Labor Day Weekend rut and do something unexpected and carefree close to home.

The 21st annual Metamora Music Festival Aug. 31-Sept. 1 will be “ a laid-back family gathering with music all over town,” reports Gail Ginther, treasurer of Metamora Performing Arts, which sponsors the weekend.

Music lovers will hear roots, string band, bluegrass, old-time and blues tunes at the free fest.

What’s new? She replies, “The Making Music area is freeform this year. Tents will be up and space provided for jamming and impromptu workshops. Larry Wayt is planning a guitar workshop for absolute beginners on Saturday afternoon from 4:30-5:30.”

On Saturday nine groups will entertain on the Back Porch Stage (please see box) between 10 a.m.-9 p.m. During equipment changes, seven individuals and groups will perform on the nearby Side Stage between 12:15-8 p.m. On Sunday five will play on the Back Porch Stage between 12:45-7 p.m. or so with four individuals and groups on the Side Stage between 1:45-5:45 p.m.

Fresh bands to the fest include Chelsea and Jon Ford, and Will and Trina on the Back Porch Stage and Mike Durham, Joe Shelton and Fiddling Ben Thompson on the Side Stage.

Some of the returning favorites are My Brother’s Keeper, The Wallens, Jason and Ginger, Punkin Holler Boys, Kriss and Greg Ziesemer, Catrina and the Baggy Bottom Boys and Midwest Rhythm Exchange, according to Ginther.

Merchants at Duck Creek Crossing, just past Main Street’s Whitewater Canal State Historic Site Grist Mill on Metamora’s western edge, also will present music under a tent. Many of the same musicians who play on the Back Porch Stage will entertain here Saturday between 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from noon-6 p.m.

Listeners should bring folding chairs and blankets or take advantage of the straw bales provided under the Back Porch big tent, where food will be sold nearby by the Metamora Lions Club.

Sunday there is a community breakfast at 9 a.m., followed by a 10 a.m. music service at the Metamora United Methodist Church on Wynn Street.

The monthly Grist Mill Slow Jam led by Wayt will take place from 1-4 p.m. at the grist mill. All levels of expertise are welcome to participate. Sponsored by the SongFarmers of Metamora, an affiliate of the Woodsongs Songfarmers effort, the jam is held monthly on the first Sunday of the month, from the mill’s opening in April until September.

In addition to Ginther, committee members are Jim and Connie Wendel, Moscow; Geoff Ginther, Anderson; Mary Disney and Connie Ragle, Metamora.

Fest sponsors are two businesses, The Transportation Connection, Florence, Kentucky; and Steel Lynx, Anderson; and two couples, the Wendels, who own the site; and Bill and Gretchen Hale.

Metamora Performing Arts is able to present this event without charge thanks to the generosity of sponsors, festival program advertising and donations. Ginther points out, “Without the support of our performers, who appear for nominal fees, we would not be able to offer an opportunity of this caliber to our community and visitors.” Anyone wishing to contribute to this effort can donate to Metamora Performing Arts, P.O. Box 45, Metamora, IN 47030; or online on the website.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-717-3113.

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