ELEVEN MILE CORNER — With fiddlers, singers and other musicians coming from as far away as Georgia and Missouri — and some who call Casa Grande home — this year’s Agri-Country Bluegrass Festival promises two full days of slap-style music aimed at getting toes tapping.
This year’s festival runs Jan. 26 and 27 at the Pinal Fairgrounds and Event Center and Karen Searle, executive director of the fairgrounds, said she’s proud of the lineup.
“I’m very excited about two bands — Edgar Loudermilk featuring Jeff Autry and Cedar Hill,” she said. “These are both amazing bands. They tour nationally and to have them play our festival is extremely exciting.”
Edgar Loudermilk featuring Jeff Autry performs on the inside stage four times during the festival — twice on that Saturday and twice on Sunday.
Loudermilk is a singer and songwriter who began playing bass in his family band at age 9. He has written more than 50 songs, released several albums and CDs and has performed as a member of the groups Full Circle and Illrd Tyme Out.
His current solo tour, featuring guitarist Autry, is traveling coast to coast.
Cedar Hill, which also performs twice on Saturday and Sunday, has been playing bluegrass music since 1967. The group, formed by Frank Ray, had its start playing shows in the Ozarks, and its music stays consistent with its Ozark roots. They’ve performed around the globe as well as at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Performing on the outside stage on Saturday are the Arizona Wildflowers, featuring the fiddle, banjo and guitar stylings of Casa Grande’s Dietrich sisters.
The Arizona Wildflowers include sisters Madison, Ranelle and Brie, who often compete at instrumental competitions across the country and perform together as a band.
Last year, they performed as the opening act for Michael Martin Murphey at the Payson Old Time Fiddlers Contest and Acoustic Celebration.
This is their first year playing at the Agri-Country Bluegrass Festival.
Music will be performed on two stages throughout the festival, an indoor stage and an outside one.
“True bluegrass music will fill the air on both stages throughout the festival,” Searle said.
Also scheduled to perform this year are:
- James Reams and the Barnstormers
- Titan Valley Warheads
- Dusty River Band and
- Jam Pak
About 7,000 people attend the toe-tapping two-day festival each year.
As well as two days of music by some of the best-loved groups in the genre, the festival also includes pig races, a classic car show and antique tractor pulls on Saturday, a two-day quilt show, model train display, food vendors and a variety of food and merchandise vendors.
“Last year, we had 92 cars in the classic car show, which is held on Saturday,” Searle said. “It was beautiful. We get a good mix of local car owners, as well as out-of-town car owners, some from even out of state. And the quilt show is incredible — truly gorgeous work.”
The model train display takes up nearly 2,500 square feet.
“It’s very cool,” Searle said.
Admission is $10 per person per day for those 12 and older. Children 11 and younger are admitted free. Tickets are available at the door.
Bleacher seating is provided.
For those looking for a music immersion experience, camping is available for $34 a night, which includes two admission tickets.
Searle said for some attendees, camping is the best part of the experience.
“Camping can be a lot of fun,” she said. “A lot of the people that are camping sit around the campfires and jam in the evenings. Some of the musicians from the bands stay and jam along with them.”