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Hundreds come out for downtown Cape bluegrass festival
Bluegrass is back, according to the organizers of the Big Muddy Spook Heavy music festival in downtown Cape Girardeau this weekend.
Sixteen bands performed near the intersection of Water and Themis streets, including several local groups and regional touring acts, most with a progressive bluegrass sound.
"It's a sound that is definitely coming back. A lot of American music is based on old traditional bluegrass," organizer Alex Barney said. "There seems to be a resurgence of its popularity again. Except now it's got more of a twist -- dance grass or stomp grass, they call it."
Bluegrass attracted fans of all ages throughout the weekend. About 250 people attended the festival Friday night, despite competing with the Cardinals' final World Series game. As of 9 p.m. Saturday, 300 people had gone to the festival.
Singer and guitar player Aaron Reese of Dexter, Mo., said downtown Cape Girardeau was the perfect location to play his music.
"Having the river right here is amazing. There's a music culture all up and down the river; particularly from St. Louis south, you have a really heavy blues influence. This is its stomping ground," he said.
In addition to bluegrass, the festival included blues, folk and even funk music.
"Some of these musicians are from other kinds of bands, but they're all getting back to the roots of the music," organizer Roger Cochran said. Spook Heavy also raised money for Melaina's Magical Playland, an all-inclusive, fully accessible playground for children of all ages and abilities. Twenty percent of proceeds will go toward the cause, championed by Jeff and Andrea Cunningham.
"I feel like any time you're able to gather up a group of people, you should do something to benefit at least one cause," Barney said.
Spook Heavy organizers previously coordinated music festivals in Bloomfield, Mo., and Grassy, Mo., with proceeds going toward local food pantries, the Stars and Stripes Museum in Bloomfield and toward the medical expenses of Matt Eakins, who died from an neurological disorder, Barney said.
Along with musical performances, the weekend festival included a beer garden, arts, crafts and food vendors.
Themis and Water Streets, Cape Girardeau, MO