Nine bluegrass bands to be featured at Cooper Lake Center festival Aug. 1-2

From staff reports

July 13, 2008 - Bill Grant, legendary promoter and musician, to emcee and perform "Bluegrass and Jam!," a two-day bluegrass festival, will bring nine high-octane bands from five states to Cooper Lake Center Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1 and 2, along with Bill Grant, one of the grand old names of the genre.

Five of the bands will perform the first night and four the next, but during the day, attendees will have a sound-equipped jamming stage at their disposal.

Bud Swayne of Cumby, a member of the board of directors of the South Sulphur Regional Development Association, sponsors of Cooper Lake Center, said bluegrass fans are often musicians in their own right and like to get together at bluegrass events to show what they've got.

"Some of these fans are really dedicated," said Swayne, who is chairman of the event. "They travel from one concert to another in their RV's, and as soon as they park they unpack their mandolins and fiddles and guitars and start entertaining each other."

Tickets, at $12 for each day, may be purchased at the gate or in advance by calling 877-808-1831. This number will also serve for information about accommodations.

Because some attendees will be showing up early in the day, the gates at Cooper Lake Center, which is near Texas Highway 19 south of Paris and north of Sulphur Springs, will open at 7:30 a.m. To get to the Center, turn west onto FM 71 or County Road 4795 from Highway 19 and follow the signs.

Bands scheduled to perform on Aug. 1 are David Davis and the Warrior River Boys, Hickory Hill, The Acousticatz, Holly Bond and the Bluegrass Texans, and The Bluegrass Solution.

In the Saturday lineup are Louisiana Grass, Mark Phillips and IIIrd Generation, Welch Mountain and The Keisler Brothers.

Bill Grant, who for decades ran an annual bluegrass festival in Hugo, Okla., that brought such talents as Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs to its stages, will emcee the two-night event and perform as well. Already a performer when bluegrass was being invented more than 60 years ago, Grant played frequently with Bill Monroe and other creators of the style.

He is a member of the American Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame, and in 2006 received the Distinguished Achievement Award from Nashville's International Bluegrass Music Association. In November of 2007, Grant received a Special Recognition Award from the governor of Oklahoma for his contributions to bluegrass music.

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