Darol Anger moved to Maine a year too late. Or a year early, depending on your perspective.

Anger, an internationally known bluegrass fiddle player and an original member of the David Grisman Quintet, moved to Portland in 2009.

He came to Maine a year after the final edition of the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival in Brunswick, Maine’s biggest bluegrass event and a major fixture in the national bluegrass circuit.

During its 30-year history, the Thomas Point festival hosted bluegrass legends Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and many others.

Partially to try to fill the void, the owners of the Saddleback Maine ski resort in Rangeley have decided to host their own major bluegrass event this year — the Saddleback Mountain Bluegrass Festival, scheduled to take place Saturday. And Anger will be on the bill.

The seven acts scheduled for the festival also include bluegrass stars David Grisman and Del McCoury. It’s a reunion of sorts, as Anger was an original member of the David Grisman Quintet, along with Grisman and guitar player Tony Rice, in the mid-1970s.

“They’ve certainly got a great lineup. It’s hard to beat Del and David,” said Anger. “It’s an incredibly beautiful area to have a festival in.”

The festival lineup mixes Maine groups with national acts. The Muellers and Erica Brown, both performing at Saddleback’s Swig & Smelt Pub during a free pre-festival show 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, are Maine acts.

So are the Jerks of Grass, the Stowaways and Mason Strunk, all performing Saturday. Strunk, 11, is the grandson of the late Maine singer/comedian Jud Strunk, and his show is a tribute to his grandfather.

Bill and Irene Berry, a Maine couple who bought the Saddleback ski area seven years ago, added the festival as part of their ongoing effort to make the area accessible and attractive to as many people as possible, said Mark Robie, Saddleback’s ski school director and the festival’s organizer.

“Their mission is to share the mountain with as many people as possible,” said Robie. “We’d like this to fill the void (left by Thomas Point) and have it be an annual event.”

Like most bluegrass festivals, this one includes camping as part of the admission price, and field picking (attendees playing music together at the camping area) is encouraged.

“You have four men who are strangers then they begin singing four-part harmony; that’s one of the great things about a bluegrass festival,” said Robie.

As the biggest stars on the bill, Grisman and McCoury will close the festival. Grisman will play with his Bluegrass Experience band from 4:45 to 6 p.m., while McCoury and his band will play from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m.

Grisman’s career spans more than 40 years, beginning with his stint with Red Allen’s Kentuckians in 1966, and including his collaboration with the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia on the group Old & In The Way.

McCoury has been a bluegrass star for some 50 years, starting with his stint in Monroe’s band, and he’s gone on to influence many younger musicians.

“Del and his family have that magic quality of making music in the bluegrass tradition but yet being totally original,” said Anger.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

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