Stony Plain’s combination of outdoor activities and cultural attractions make it the perfect launching point for an Alberta getaway. Visitors can do everything from visiting one-of-a-kind public art projects (more than 35 large public murals) to hiking and biking on the city’s extensive network of high-quality trails. Make sure to drop by Main Street, which is packed full of boutique shops and a variety of restaurants.
The Blueberry Bluegrass and Country Music Festival has been showcasing a variety of great country and bluegrass performers since it began more than three decades ago. The event will take place August 4-6 at Heritage Park, and will feature musicians from across America and Canada including renowned bluegrass artists Blue Highway, Foggy Hogtown Boys, and more. Performances will take place on three stages (indoor and outdoor), and a variety of special jam sessions and music workshops will be available in tents on the festival grounds. Families will love the event’s expanded list of activities that include scavenger hunts, petting zoo, penny arcade, and movies. Attendees can also take part in a pie making contest that is open to everyone and will award the top five contestants in three categories (fruit, cream, and meringue). The food area will feature a variety of the community's top food trucks, and a marketplace will feature unique handmade items from around 20 local vendors. We got the chance to interview Lynne Ness, a representative of the event, to learn more about this great celebration of music.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
LN: The Blueberry Bluegrass & Country Music Festival is about to enter its 32nd year.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
LN: The event attracts approximately 3,000 people each year to hear the best in Bluegrass music performed by artists from across Canada and the US.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
LN: The event is suitable for people of all ages, and this year several activities have been added for families.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
LN: This is the only festival of its kind in western Canada, and this year will feature an indoor and outdoor stage, ensuring enjoyment for all, rain or shine!
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
LN: A day at the festival might begin at the pancake breakfast hosted by the adjacent Pioneer Museum, where you will also find an intimate performance stage hosted by the Northern Bluegrass Music Society. An old prairie church on the Museum site is a theater for the weekend, playing short documentary films exploring Bluegrass Music. Performances begin on the outdoor and indoor stages in the early afternoon, delighting audiences with notable musicians such as Blue Highway, Feller & Hill, and the Foggy Hogtown Boys, to name just a few. Between performances, audience members can find refreshments at one of the several vendors or shop in the festival market set up in the pavilion. Attractions such as sheep dog demonstrations and a petting zoo and an outdoor arcade amuse the children in the crowd. Horse-drawn wagons offer regular tours of the town of Stony Plain, and participation in all of the provided activities results in eligibility for draws and prizes. After the final performances of the day, the indoor stage becomes the site of a family-friendly country dance, while hosted jam sessions provide aspiring musicians an opportunity to make music with the professionals.
On Sunday morning there will be a Gospel Hour when visiting bands showcase their favorite gospel repertoire.
RAL: What is the local lodging situation like?
LN: On-site RV camping is available for festival attendees, and nearby hotels include Travelodge, Motel 6, Ramada, and Best Western. Stony Plain is an easy drive from the city of Edmonton, offering the full range of accommodations, and there are bed & breakfast options throughout the region.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community.
LN: The Blueberry Bluegrass & Country Music Festival Society is proud to play a significant role in the presentation, preservation, and promotion of Bluegrass and traditional music.
For more information about the Blueberry Bluegrass and Country Music Festival, please visit the event website.