An array of music will fill the air over Virginia City as the third annual Americana Music Festival is staged at numerous venues throughout the town, July 8-10.
Darrell Scott & Brothers headlines at 7 p.m. Saturday, at Piper's Opera House.
Scott is an award-winning songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and in 2010, was announced as part of the Band of Joy alongside Robert Plant. He will also conduct a workshop Saturday at Fourth Ward School.
Known as Bluegrass on the Comstock the first six years of its existence, the event was renamed Americana Music Festival three years ago in order to better serve the mission of promoting and preserving all different styles of music, said Cindy Gray, who with her husband John Groenewald, are co-directors of the non-profit Traditional American Music Program (TRAMP) and host to the Americana Music Festival.
"The town asked us to host what has become the premiere music event in Northern Nevada, the second weekend of July, which has traditionally been slow after the July 4 hoopla," Gray said. "We have six different venues hosting everything from Americana, folk, bluegrass, rock-abilly and Irish music to blues - you name it - and we try to hire bands with unique dress and instruments not usually seen in Virginia City, so people get a mental imprint as well as a great listening and interactive experience."
TRAMP, a non-profit 501(c)3, is an education organization, reflecting Gray's background in education. She is a special education teacher in Reno.
"This is not your sit in a chair and be entertained, get up to buy a beer once in a while kind of festival," she said. "Since part of our mission is to educate, we offer a lot of interactive experiences."
Among those experiences are a variety of dance, from Contra and clogging to step dancing, spoken word performances, jams, workshops and more.
Fourth Ward School will be open and offering visitors the chance to try their hand at playing an array of instruments and also hosts an old time sing-along 4 p.m., Saturday. The workshop with Scott takes place at the school from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Saturday. Cost is $20 and advance registration is recommended due to limited seating. Open jams as well as guided jams will take place throughout the weekend, as well.
"Our musicians are so accessible to the public and lead the guided jams and workshops," Gray said. "The music itself is accessible, I mean hambone is a style of music where you can get up and play your own body."
To keep track of all the performances, visitors can purchase a 12-page program for a quarter at the main booth, which will be set up at The Silverland Hotel, also the venue for "the more electrified bands."
"The one complaint we have is that there's so much to see and do and people want to see and do it all and can't," Gray said. "This isn't a bad complaint to have."
TRAMP is able to offer so much for free because of the grant funding and corporate and private sponsorship it receives.
"We do write grants and our sponsorship base is growing," Gray said. "We're also looking at implementing a membership program."
Visitors are encouraged to park at The Silverland and take the shuttle up to C Street. Once on C Street, catch a ride from one venue to the next via one of the specially marked golf carts.
"Just wave a cart down and get on," Gray said.
All of this is free to the public, with the exception of the headliner show featuring Darrell Scott & Brothers. Tickets cost $40 per person or $70 per couple. Advance purchase is recommended.
"This is a great time for everyone," Gray said. "This however, ain't no sissy festival. You gotta get up and get after it and hopefully people will also learn something along the way."
For more information, a complete schedule of performances, to register for the workshop or to purchase tickets for the Barrell Scott & Brothers show at Piper's Opera House, visit americanafest.org. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 775-847-0254.