Bluegrass Festival an irreplaceable SK icon

Anyone who isn’t concerned about the future of the Olalla Bluegrass Festival has obviously never attended one.

Marty Kellogg, the event’s long-time manager, announ-ced last week he would be stepping down.

In addition, organizers need to recruit a secretary and at least two new facilitators if they intend for the iconic annual event to continue.

“I believe this is a strong enough event,” Kellogg said, “that if people knew the predicament, they would want to step up.”

They would indeed.

A community is more than a collection of individuals. Shared experiences and common themes are the mortar that binds them together.

The Bluegrass Festival has provided just such an identity for Olalla since it was founded in 1991 as a fundraiser for local nonprofits.

In the years since, although the Pacific Northwest isn’t generally regarded as a hotbed of bluegrass music, the tiny rural area in South Kitsap has built a national reputation for its yearly celebration of Americana.

It just wouldn’t be summer in these parts if you couldn’t block out a day to pack up your lawn chair, a picnic lunch and the kids for a day of hot guitar licks, twangy banjos and fiddle-scrapin.’

There aren’t enough wholesome outlets like the Bluegrass Festival, and its absence would leave a hole in South Kitsap that would be impossible to fill.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that. Instead of the event’s death knell, hopefully the need to infuse new blood into the event will provide an opportunity to reinvigorate it.

With luck, this is just the beginning of a bigger and better Olalla Bluegrass Festival rather than its swan song.

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