"This will be like it was when there was a big jam session at Bill's house," Event Organizer Dave Amerman said, remembering his friend, Billy Reed, who died August 2005 from lung cancer. "We had a great crowd last year and are hoping for an even bigger one this year."
Reed was well known and liked by people in the Saline City area and in the world of bluegrass music, which is why Amerman and several friends created the bluegrass festival in his honor.
Reed enjoyed playing string instruments like the bass guitar, guitar, mandolin and the banjo, but his love of music and people was his motivation to encourage people to better their lives through their talents.
"This festival is a legacy to how truly good-hearted a man he really was," Amerman said, adding that he wouldn't have pursued music if it weren't for Reed's encouragement
There should be a lot of picking going on during the event with more than 20 bluegrass bands scheduled to play at the two-day festival. The following bands are scheduled to perform; Birch Creek, Louie Popejoy & The Heirs of Bluegrass, Crooked Creek, Salt Cured, Circle City Bluegrass Band, New Harmony, Lost River Risin', Diamond Hill Station, Stony Point, Viki & Crew, Dewey, Cheatem & How, Common Ground, Barnstormin' Bluegrass Band, New Terrain, Stringtown Pickers, Fields of Home, Bunkum Valley Boys, U.S. 231, The Coon Holler Kids, Lonesome Whistle and, according to Amerman, many other friends of Reed are expected to show up for the free concerts.
"Performers will take the stage right after the Clay City VFW Post presents the colors on Sunday at 9 a.m., with church services beginning at 10 a.m. The whole morning will be dedicated to gospel bluegrass music," Amerman said. "We have entertainment scheduled until around 10:30-11 p.m., but hopefully there will be some "parking lot picking" going on for quite awhile afterwards."
Amerman said the on-stage entertainment is scheduled to start around 10 a.m. on Monday and will continue throughout the day until about 9:30 p.m. A highlight of that day will be a "slow jam," where the veteran performers will slow down the songs to allow beginner musicians to join in the fun.
"Bill always encouraged others to use their talent, to get out their instruments and pick with him," Amerman said. "It is really evident how much Bill touched so many people's lives by the outpouring of support for this bluegrass festival."
Amerman says the festival is a fundraiser to help support The American Cancer Society, but most of the funds will go to support The Bill Reed Music Scholarship Fund for college-bound students interested in pursuing music from Clay City High School.
Amerman said free campsites will also be available this year for those who wish to stay over during the festival.
"We will be selling (commemorative) t-shirts during the two days," Amerman said. "We will be selling tickets for a raffle to give away an autographed acoustical guitar-which was given away last year, but the winner donated it back to the festival this year-and having a silent auction to raise money, but this is a fundraising event, so we will accept any donations that people would like to make while they're enjoying the festival."
For more information, log on to www.bluegrassforbilly.com.