THE EARLS OF LEICESTER, founded by Jerry Douglas, perform under the tent at last year’s Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival. COURTESY OF THOMAS POINT BEACH BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL

THE EARLS OF LEICESTER, founded by Jerry Douglas, perform under the tent at last year’s Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival. COURTESY OF THOMAS POINT BEACH BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL

BRUNSWICK

Some of Bluegrass’s biggest names are preparing their guitars, fiddles, mandolins, banjos and vocal chords for the 39th Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival in Brunswick.

The festival, which runs Aug. 30- Sept. 2, will draw singer-songwriter Sierra Hull, Jerry Douglas’ The Earls of Leicester, Larry Sparks of The Lonesome Rambelers, The Gibson Brothers, Balsam Range and many more.

Music for the festival’s 39th year starts at 1 p.m. on the first day of performance, but acts start at 10 a.m. the next three days. The full schedule is available at thomaspointbeachbluegrass.com.

Throughout the four-day event, the stage show blends regional favorites with bluegrass legends and award winners, as well as a solid mix of traditional and the contemporary styles.

The show kicks off Thursday with the Showcase Competition, featuring six up-and-coming bands, playing for a cash prize and a place in the Saturday Main Stage line-up. A pair of past Showcase Winners, The Bluegrass Unit (2017 winner) and Twisted Pine (2014 winner), will headline the evening, followed that night by a hoe-down style dance under the seating tent.

Friday’s show will welcome two bands to the Thomas Point Beach stage for the first time: Slocan Ramblers from Canada and the Po’Ramblin’ Boys from Tennessee. The Slocan Ramblers, though rooted in tradition. The Po’Ramblin’ Boys are among three of the five International Bluegrass Music Associations finalists for emerging artist of the year, scheduled to perform at Thomas Point Beach this year. Sister Sadie and Mile Twelve also share this distinction and will play two sets each on Sunday.

Friday’s line-up will also feature The Lonesome River Band. Their current album, “Mayhayley’s House,” is up for an IBMA album of the year award.

The Friday show will close with Grammy Award winner and dobroist extraordinaire Jerry Douglas presenting The Earls of Leicester. The band’s sound focuses on the music of Flatt and Scruggs, bringing this storied sound to a contemporary audience.

Three of this year’s IBMA finalists for entertainer of the year will find their way to the festival stage in Brunswick. Joining the Earls of Leicester for this distinction are Balsam Range and The Gibson Brothers. Balsam Range will bring their vocal harmonies and instrumentals to the stage for two sets on Saturday.

The Gibson Brothers, will close the main stage show for the weekend on Sunday evening. Leroy Troy and the Tennessee Mafia Band will take over the celebration on the Late Night Stage.

Mandolinist Sierra Hull was first at TPB in 2007 when she was 16 years old. She returnes Saturday, Sept. 1. Hull wrote 11 of her current album’s 12 songs.

“The moment you start to be yourself, there’s an honesty about that, that people connect with,” she said. “This album feels like the story of my early 20s, of that searching. Now, it feels like everything worked out the way it was supposed to.”

Saturday’s schedule will also feature David Davis & The Warrior River Boys, The Feinberg Brothers, Merrimack Valley Bluegrass and Wilson Banjo Co. Wilson Banjo Co.’s fiddle player and vocalist Sarah Logan was born and raised in Maine and has been playing the fiddle and singing since she was 5 years old. She currently attends East Tennessee State University where she majors in their bluegrass program. Sarah grew up coming to the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival with her father, Carter Logan of the Jerks of Grass.

Closing the show on Saturday will be an Anniversary Celebration of 40 years for Hot Rize, a band made up of Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Tim O’Brien and Pete Wernick on banjo. The foursome plays 40s and 50s country music as well as you might expect from people who have mostly listened to the same jukebox for most of their lives.

The Sunday lineup features, Larry Sparks, known to many as “The King of Bluegrass Soul.” Sparks began his career in the mid- 1960s as a guitarist with the Stanley Brothers and later became lead vocalist for Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. Sparks went on to form his own band, the Lonesome Ramblers in 1969. He has recorded and toured with his band for nearly 50 years, releasing more than 60 albums.

When the stage show is over, the best is yet to come, with low-key acoustic performances by the fire and under the stars.

The Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival was established in 1979 by Pati Crooker of Brunswick with the goal of bringing traditional bluegrass music to her coastal home. Since its inception, the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival has hosted more than 200 of the biggest names in bluegrass on its historic stage.

Following Crooker’s death in 2016, her son and daughter in-law, Michael and Jennifer Mulligan, decided to keep the event going with the help and support of longtime festival associate Shari Elder, as well as other park staff, industry experts, family, and friends.

“Last year, we gave it a shot, we took a gamble, and it was the best decision we could have made,” said Michael Mulligan. “After the festival was over, we took time to consider the future, and there didn’t seem to be much of a doubt that we would be doing it again in 2018.”

Single-day and multi-day tickets will be available at the festival gates.

One-day tickets are $30 Thursday, $55 Friday and Saturday and $50 Sunday. Weekend tickets, priced at $165 per person for four days or $150 for three days, include a free camping spot. Children under 12 attend fro free and teens 13-16 pay half price.

For more information, call (207) 725-6009 or visit thomaspointbeachbluegrass.com.

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