Fruitland's Bavarian Halle has been home to the event since 2005. This year will be the third time that Bull and Tammy Harman of Florissant, Mo., will host the event. Former hosts Bruce and Bobette Punches handed over the festival in January 2011 in order to play music on the road.
"We like to promote bluegrass," Bull Harman said. "Bruce knew that. We grew up playing bluegrass music together for years and he was in a group with my wife years ago and he was also in a group with my family years ago. We've just grown up together playing bluegrass music, and he knew that we would do it, and he felt that it was in good hands and I hope that we don't let him down."
Friday and Saturday feature concerts in the afternoon, dinner and another show in the evening. Dinner on Friday will be catered by the Branding Iron and dinner on Saturday is catered by Country Mart. Local vendors also have tables set up throughout the building to show and sell their goods.
Aside from the bands on the schedule, guest bands are welcome. Bull Harman said he has had two guest bands so far call and be added to the festival lineup, which sometimes that leads to a booking the next year.
Bands area a mix of local and out-of-state acts. Bull Harman said that many people come back every year and want a band that they liked before to be back again.
"Weather permitting I think this year will be the biggest year yet because of all the phone calls that we've had," Bull Harman said. "I talked to the hotel and they're doing very well at the hotel, so they're really excited about it. It's just something for people to do in that area. We're excited to have something like this in that area where people would be interested."
Bull Harman will perform with his band Bull Harman and Bull's Eye, which includes his 15-year-old son Wyatt on the upright bass. Bull Harman said bluegrass is usually a musical style that older people like, but he sees younger generations becoming interested in the American folk style.
"It's an appealing music," Bull Harman said. "it's a pure music that has a great feeling when you listen to it. It just makes you feel good other than country, where your dog dies and you go to prison. Don't get me wrong, there are a few bluegrass songs that are like that too, but for the most part it's a happy music."
The festival starts at 7 p.m. today and continues Friday and Saturday. Ticket prices range from $7 to $25 and shows start at 2 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. More information can be found at bootheelbluegrass.com.
"The economy is really rough to have a festival in because of the price of fuel, the price of bands," Bull Harman said. "People on those fixed incomes are having a rough time, but you know they still like to get out, get away, and forget about everything and just enjoy, kick back and listen to some bluegrass music."
225 Drury Lane, Jackson, MO