When Desert Bluegrass Association announced in early 2015 that it would no longer host a fall bluegrass festival, fans of the genre were no doubt disappointed.
They turned to Marana and its annual spring bluegrass festival, which last April hosted North Carolina’s Nu-Blu bluegrass and Americana band.
This weekend, bluegrass fans can turn to Desert Diamond Casino to get their fall bluegrass fix.
The casino is hosting its inaugural bluegrass festival with nationally feted star Peter Rowan and a full lineup of Tucson’s own talent including twin brothers Greg and Randal Morton. Randal, who lives in Memphis, Tennessee, plays banjo all over the world, and Greg, a longtime Tucson resident, is a state guitar champion.
The music gets underway at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and Sunday, Oct. 23, in the plaza at Desert Diamond Casino in Sahaurita, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road off Interstate 19.
Desert Diamond Casino has hosted several of the Desert Bluegrass Association’s festivals, with fans pulling RVs into the parking lot and making a staycation of the event. But this is the first time they’re on their own, and casino officials hope it won’t be the last. The Tohono O’odham Nation venture hopes to make the festival an annual event.
Desert Bluegrass Association hosted its fall festival for 14 years and when it announced it was pulling the plug, longtime festival coordinator and all-around bluegrass cheerleader Mike Headrick lamented that he had hoped the festival would grow bigger and better with each year. But in Tucson, which is festival heavy in the fall, that simply didn’t happen.
In addition to decamping at Desert Diamond Casino, the bluegrass association held its festivals over the years at Pima County Fairgrounds.