6/24/2013 6:02:00 AM Jammin' on Performers pick with their peers at Bluegrass Festival
Patrick Whitehurst/The Daily Courier
Kingman musician Mike Boop plays the mandolin along with other jammers at the 2013 Prescott Bluegrass Festival at the courthouse plaza in downtown Prescott Sunday. Boop said he visits the Prescott music festival every year for both the weather and the chance to play with other bluegrass musicians.
For both amateur and professional players, the Prescott Bluegrass Festival was the place to be this weekend. Fans of the music filled the courthouse plaza June 22-23, some sprawled on blankets, others under tents and shaded camping chairs, and all tapping their toes.
Down-home, countrified bluegrass came not only from a stage area erected on Goodwin Street, but from other areas as well, including spots in the cool shade surrounding the courthouse itself.
For some, those shady jam spots are why they came. Bluegrass festivals, after all, are known for their impromptu jam sessions.
The Prescott Bluegrass Festival has been bringing the jams, both on and off the stage, for more than 30 years.
Guitarist Robert Spinner came to Prescott for a remodeling job in Lakeside and heard about the festival while he was here. He's been playing guitar for 41 years and jumped at the chance to jam at the local festival.
"There's actually a bluegrass festival going on in my hometown in Missouri this weekend, but I got to come play music here instead," Spinner said.
He said he's made a number of new friends at the downtown festival.
"It's like hanging out with all the old friends I pick with at home," Spinner said. "Some of the best pickers in the world are bluegrass pickers. I've played rock 'n' roll, I've played country, and these guys do their music just with strings and skill. They're very precise and fantastic pickers."
One of those new friends is Kingman Mandolinist Mike Boop. Boop comes to Prescott every year to be a part of the festival. While he enjoys the music offered up on stage, he also comes to jam with other musicians off the stage.
"We go to all the festivals. This is one we really enjoy because of the weather," Boop said. "We come to jam. My wife plays the Dobro. We look forward to the chance to jam."
Some, including Prescott resident Carol Hein, just came to enjoy the upbeat music in the cool climate offered at the plaza. While she's lived in the area for 10 years, she'd never come to the Prescott Bluegrass Festival until Sunday.
"I have not been to the Bluegrass Festival, but this year I had time to relax and enjoy myself. I wanted something fun to do with our kids who are visiting from Scottsdale for the weekend. I love live music. It brings the community together and bluegrass is upbeat and happy," Hein said. "We love the live music during the week. Normally we come then. We usually avoid the crowds on the weekend, and come out during the week, but this is wonderful."