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Father-son band to perform at 51st annual Charlotte Bluegrass Festival

Posted at 4:23 PM, Jun 20, 2023

CHARLOTTE, Mich. — The 51st annual Charlotte Bluegrass Festival is happening Thursday at the Eaton County fairgrounds.

I had the chance to listen to some of the musicians play as they prepared for their performance.

Keith Wallen has been playing music all his life, and this melody is more than just a song, it's family. Keith passed his passion on to his son Ryan almost a decade ago.

"I been playing for seven years. I started when I was 18, so I've been playing for seven years," Ryan said.

"I don't want to count how long I've been playing, but I should be better than what I am as long as I've been playing," joked Keith.

And in a few days, this family band will have a dream come true.

"It's gonna be very special," said Keith.

They'll share the stage together at the upcoming Charlotte Bluegrass Festival and join dozens of artists and hundreds of fans at an event that just a few years ago faced some major challenges. First, there was a the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, in 2021, a natural disaster.

"We had an actually tornado. We had some thunderstorms and tornado warnings before, but nothing to this degree where we had an actually tornado pass south of the fairgrounds about a half a mile," Wes Pettinger, a promoter for the festival, said.

When the storm passed, the festival was able to continue.

"And then, we came back in afterwards, after things settled down, and instead of people going back to their motor-homes to check, to see if what damages they had on the canopies, they were more worried about their chairs on the stage area," Pettinger said.

The festival runs from June 22-24.

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Travis Hicks

3:45 PM, May 23, 2022

Charlotte & Eaton Rapids

Neighborhood Reporter

Travis Hicks

FOX 47 News Neighborhood Newsletter