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Next weekend New Albany will take its place in the heritage music spotlight for the third time as we host the Mississippi Bluegrass Championships.
It’s all part of the Down From the Hills Heritage Music and Fiddling Festival, which will have its 10th annual event at the Union County Fairgrounds.
What started a few years ago as a forum for area musicians to display their talent has become an event that draws competitors from several surrounding states to New Albany.
Jill Smith, director of the Union County Heritage Museum and founder of the festival, said she got the idea for the festival because she “felt like there needed to be a venue here for heritage music.
The organizers include Stanley Wise,, Bethany Dalton and Smith. It is supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission, Union County Heritage Museum, Union County Fair Association, Mississippi State University Extension Service, City of New Albany Tourism, Sims Metal Management and the UNITE foundation.
More than 300 students are signed up for workshops on Friday, Smith said. The public events kick off with a drum circle performance at 7 p.m. Friday at Ingomar Mounds.
The main festival and competition starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and lasts until late afternoon at the fairgrounds. It includes individual competitions for fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and dobro, as well as a Battle of the Bands. Admission is $5. Concessionaires will offer lunch items.
Lots of hard work goes into making this event happen. Make plans now to take in the festival and competition next Saturday.