Early August brought the Podunk Bluegrass Festival to Hebron, CT and with it a brand new singing contest, the Voice of Podunk Kids. It was the festival’s first event to focus on the singing voice of a child. The contest, designed for youngsters 5 to 18 years allows participants to perform songs from any genre. Winners are each presented monetary awards.
Marie Leise, a teenager from Lisbon, CT took first place in this inaugural event, capturing the judges attention with her rendition of Oh Atlanta, made famous by Alison Krauss. Second place went to an impressive sisters act, Calista and Oriana Mack of Woodbridge, CT. Third place went to Madilyn Partlow of Newington, CT.
Children who wish to participate next year can get their act signed up now by calling Myrna Riquier at 860-455-9400. An “act” can be a solo, duet, trio or quartet. Only ten acts can be accepted. First come, first served.
Each year the Podunk festival offers activities developed specifically for the younger generations. Among them is a “Kid’s Academy” for ages 7 to 17 wherein guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and bass are taught over the weekend by musicians from the Rhode Island Bluegrass Alliance. The youngsters then present a performance Sunday on the main stage to show the audience what they have learned. For teenagers, as well as for adults, a “Bluegrass University” is offered which provides advanced instruction in bluegrass music from acclaimed teachers.
With its focus on being a true family-friendly event, the festival also offers supervised activities for young children, including crafts, games, tie dying, movies, etc., allowing their parents time to sit back and enjoy the music.
Two stages are run simultaneously, presenting national and regional bluegrass acts on one and offering Americana/Acoustic performances on the other. In addition to being a go-to event for camping, the Podunk festival also welcomes school and family reunions, office parties and other group excursions.
The festival is presented annually the second weekend in August at the Hebron Lions Fairgrounds, Hebron, CT. To learn more about this family festival or to obtain reduced price early bird tickets for next year, visit www.podunkbluegrass.com.