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Lakes Bluegrass Festival brings international group

The Spinney Brothers, an award winning bluegrass group from Canada, will be performing at the Lakes Bluegrass Festival for the first time. Here you can see mandolin player Gary Dalrymple, Banjo and vocalist Rick Spinney, guitarist and vocalist Allan Spinney and upright bassist Terry Poirier. Submitted photo.

With the return of the Lakes Bluegrass Festival comes the return first Minnesota performance of the Spinney Brothers from Canada.

The Spinney Brothers is a traditional four part bluegrass band with a penchant for duet vocals and duet harmony.

"We do throw in some three and four part harmony songs. We stay pretty close to traditional country as well as some original material. We try to bring a full, energetic stage show with as much excitement as we can. It's definitely a family friendly show and we try to entertain not just with music but with the whole show," said banjo player and vocalist Rick Spinney.

The Spinney Brothers are an up and coming band recording under the Mountain Fever Record Label which has had a few success stories in recent years including a number one songs "Memories" and "Grandpa's Way of Life" as well as their number one latest album "No Borders".

"Most people would probably recognize 'Grandpa's Way of Life' and maybe another song called 'I want my Dog Back'," Spinney said.

The Spinney Brothers' appearance in Pine River will mark their first performance in Minnesota, though Spinney said they have heard good things from Monroe's Crossing.

"That's why we're excited to take part in this festival and meet some new fans," Spinney said.

The Spinney Brothers' appearance also marks a first for the Lakes Bluegrass Festival.

"It's exciting that we have award winning bands coming again. We've got an international group. The Spinney Brothers are coming from Canada. That's a first for us," said Lakes Bluegrass Festival cofounder and performer Tim Roggenkamp "We also have Audie Blaylock and Redline. They are coming from Kentucky but they are one of the hottest bands on the circuit right now and a very energetic group. They've won lots of bluegrass awards."

This year marks nine years of the Lakes Bluegrass Festival and five years in Pine River. It will feature a recently expanded pavillion for shade and a new "unplugged" stage for workshops and other activities. Returning this year will be various favorite artists such as Monroe's Crossing as well as familiar activities such as vocal and instrumental workshops with first-come-first-served seating. There are a total of 13 on stage performers as well as campground musicians.

Since last year, the Cass County Fairgrounds have seen various improvements which will be beneficial to the festival such as installation of netting to keep pigeons from perching above performers during the show. The festival organizers have also reduced prices.

"It's a family friendly event and we lowered our day tickets this year. We even have an evening ticket. If you want to get in after 5 p.m. you can get in for $10 as an adult. Teens are half price and children 12 or under are free. It's really family friendly. You could bring the whole family for $20," Roggenkamp said.