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Turning Red River Blue

Bluegrass pickers

The Southwest Traditional and Bluegrass Music Association (better known as The Southwest Pickers) will be in the Red River spotlight as they bring their 43rd Southwest Pickers and Old Time Music Festival to town September 14-17, 2017.

Stage shows are set for the Red River Ski & Summer Area and the Red River Community House.

Among the featured acts scheduled to appear are Blue Highway – nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY Award for Best Bluegrass Album, the Soda Rock Ramblers, FY5, East Mountain Serenaders, the Badly Bent, Audrey Davis & John Archuleta and the Cody Sisters.

Saturday will feature contests for fiddle, banjo, guitar and songwriting at the Community House. Saturday will feature workshops and jams.

The Southwest Pickers involvement is the result of the growth of the Red River Bluegrass Festival, which began in 2013, and also the need for the Pickers to relocate their festival, which has been held in Santa Fe for 30 years.

The Southwest Traditional and Bluegrass Music Association group, originally known as the Friends of Traditional Music, came into existence in 1981. They incorporated as a non-profit, volunteer-run organization in 1989 as the Southwest Traditional and Bluegrass Music Association – Southwest Pickers!
The goal was – and is – to preserve, promote and strengthen traditional, acoustic music, particularly Bluegrass and Old-time, in New Mexico. The Southwest Pickers sponsor concerts, workshops, and jam sessions throughout the year in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

On their website, you can find information about the festival, upcoming events, local bands, and membership. If you haven’t already, you’re invited to join this fine organization to get discounts on concert tickets and to help support traditional acoustic music in New Mexico.

Band Scramble

Make some new friends and learn some new music. The Band Scramble judges make up random teams, which then become a “band.” In a few hours, the bands perform on stage. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry – you’ll have a great time, and you’ll meet a lot of good pickers.


Jams aren’t scheduled events – they just spontaneously combust around the site in the barns, buildings and even the parking lot. Carry your instrument along when you’re in the mood to pick; you never know when a jam will break out.

-Info courtesy Southwest Pickers

FYI: Bluegrass music and festivals are a worldwide fact of life and the number of such gatherings is growing every year. With roots in the traditional music of England, Scotland and Ireland, other influences can be found in this popular form of Americana.