The slopes at Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley aren’t strangers to mountainside revelers. During the winter, skiers and riders bustle about the trails and the base lodge, bundled to the hilt. But when the snow’s away, the bands will play during the second annual Saddleback Mountain Bluegrass Festival.

Fiddles and banjos will be in abundance during the two-day event, which starts with live bluegrass music at 3 p.m. Friday on the festival’s main stage. The evening’s performers include 317 Main Street Student Ensemble (3 p.m.), The Pineland Fiddlers (3:45 p.m.), The Toughcats (4:45 p.m.) and Erica Brown and The Bluegrass Connection (6 p.m.).

The music starts back up at 11 a.m. Saturday with Mason Strunk, followed by Della Mae (11:45 a.m.), The Farewell Drifters (1 p.m.), Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings (2:15 p.m.), Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper (3:30 p.m.), Crooked Still (4:45 p.m.) and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder (6 p.m.).

It’s a weekend bluegrass fans won’t want to miss. “We have an amazing lineup … and an extremely serious sound system,” said Mark Robie, the festival’s manager and Saddleback Mountain’s ski school director during the snowy season. Camping is also available on the mountain all weekend on a first-come, first-served basis, starting at 9 a.m. Friday.

Last year’s inaugural festival drew 2,000 people, according to Robie. “It was just a huge smash,” he said. “Everybody had such a good time.

“I had someone tell me it was the best date she and her husband had in 45 years.”

The festival includes a range of musicians, from young bluegrass bands hailing from Maine’s own backyard to heavy hitting and Grammy-winning performers from across the country. There is certain to be a bit of bluegrass for everybody, said Robie.

“(The performers) cross all sorts of boundaries. There are the older retired people who worship Bill Monroe — well, I guess they all worship Bill Monroe — all the way to these great new bands, these young, incredibly talented musicians.”

And the music doesn’t end when the main stage goes dark. Robie says campers keep the music going into the night.

“People will come with their instruments and at night will walk around with fiddles, mandolins and banjos, even dragging around their bass fiddles, to jam with other people,” Robie said. Festival performers might even show up to join in.

In addition, more music can be found at the base lodge pub on both nights starting at 8 p.m. On Friday, gypsy-jazz band Ameranouche performs and on Saturday attendees can take part in — or just listen to — a bluegrass jam session hosted by Maine band Phat Grass to close out the festival.

During both days, food vendors will be cooking up grub, lobster rolls included. There will also be an outdoor barbecue. A coffee bar will be available and the base lodge cafeteria will be open.

Camping costs $10 for tents and vans and $15 for RVs, and campers are encouraged to bring warm clothes and blankets. Temperatures can vary dramatically from day to night on the mountain, Robie said. The base lodge will also be open 24/7 during the festival so visitors can take advantage of the restrooms.

Robie also suggests attendees bring a lawn chair or a blanket, keeping in mind that much of the terrain is sloped. The chair’s back legs might need to be dug in to make the seating level. (That’s a tip Robie picked up while attending another festival this summer. )

Dogs aren’t permitted at the event, and alcoholic beverages are restricted to the festival beer gardens.

But there’s no restriction on the pickin’.

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at:

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