Greenwood Sidee trio performed at the '11 Marana Bluegrass Music and Arts Festival, which was mostly rained out.


Coordinators of the Marana Bluegrass Festival are crossing their fingers that everything goes according to plan this weekend.

This will be their third attempt at the event, set to take place Saturday and Sunday at Ora Mae Harn Park.

The first try in 2011 was thwarted by record-breaking storms that forced planners to cancel many of the performances.

Last year, the festival committee made the mistake of scheduling the acoustic activities on Easter Weekend.

It was canceled before it even began.

An uneventful couple of days would be a welcome change said Charles Sides, the co-chairman for the festival.

"We've been stung and paid the price," he said. "We shouldn't have to have the bad weather anymore."

The forecast for the weekend calls for sunny skies and warm temps, and that's not the only thing the festival has going for it this year.

It is being sponsored by the Tucson-based Desert Bluegrass Association, in partnership with the Arizona Bluegrass Association out of Phoenix and with in-kind support from the town of Marana.

The 12-band lineup is all Arizona, with acts chosen by both bluegrass organizations.

Local touring groups such as Run Boy Run, hot off the heels of its Country Thunder appearance and Bost Family Traditions from Cochise County will be on hand to represent Southern Arizona.

They'll be joined by groups from the rest of the state, including Grits N' Roses and Cinder Mountain from the Phoenix area.

"We wanted some of these bands to get the experience of playing on the festival stage," Sides said. "A lot of them do play festivals, but others have never broken into that category."

Sides said, because the bands are coming from all over, they are hoping that their fans will follow.

It is part of a bigger growth of bluegrass music on the Northwest side of town.

A free monthly jam is held the third Sunday of the month at Music & Arts, 8320 N. Thornydale Road.

And a weekly workshop to train up-and-coming bluegrass musicians, also free, takes place Wednesdays at the Marana Community Center, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road.

A successful festival would be a feather in the cap for the area's bluegrass community.

"We've got a neat situation here," Sides said. "We are hoping to get a good turnout."

If you go

• What: 2013 Marana Bluegrass Festival.

• When: 9:45 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

• Where: Ora Mae Harn Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road, Marana.

• Tickets: $7 per day or $12 for both days with discounts available.

• Details: Find a full schedule and other info at

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at or 807-8430.