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Diviana Navarro is a BenitoLink Intern Staff Reporter.

The 25th Annual Good Old-Fashioned Bluegrass Festival will be pickin’ and grinnin’ at San Benito County Historical Park on Aug. 9-12.

Presented by the Northern California Bluegrass Society, the festival provides an authentic atmosphere for musicians and fans alike. Activities include dance sessions, tours of the historical park, earthquake tours, and open mic opportunities. A four-day long event, festival-goers can camp onsite and sing and play with fellow musicians during evening jam sessions.

“Everyone gets together and has a wonderful time,” said Michael Hall, president of the Northern California Bluegrass Society.

Bluegrass music dates back to the 1940s when it was named after singer, songwriter and mandolin player Bill Monroe’s home state of Kentucky. Originally popular in the rural southeastern United States, the genre—blending elements of mountain folk, gospel, country and jazz stylings—went on to become popular with urban college students and professionals. A typical bluegrass band features vocals, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar and stand-up bass.

Harking back to the early days of bluegrass, the lineup of performances for this year’s festival consists of California bands only.

Headlining Friday night is local band Blue Summit. Aj Lee, the band’s lead vocalist and mandolin player, first attended the festival when she was 5 years old. It was then that she discovered her talent and passion for bluegrass music.

Bluegrass, said Lee, “gives people a chance to relate to something other than the mundane things we learn in school, it gives people a chance to relate to something bigger.”

Lee also takes part in the kid-centered activities that the festival offers. From arts and crafts to their own jam session, kids are encouraged to embrace the music.

“The kids program allows the music to continue through generations and generations of kids coming and participating,” Lee said.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the door. Children under 12 get in free. For more information visit: