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"Parking lot picking is three quarters of the festival," she declared.

"The time leading up to the festival takes a ridiculous amount of work. Linda and I have been working Omega Seamaster Black Orange

It starts with the Lighthouse Bluegrass Festival June 29, 30 and July 1, followed by the Vancouver Island MusicFest July 6 to 8, with the Chemainus Bluegrass Festival after that on July 14, the Island Folk Festival at Providence Farm in Duncan July 20 to 21 and the Coombs Bluegrass Festival Aug. 3 to 5.

"Those five festivals make it worth the trip from the lower mainland with an RV. They can come to all of them."

The president of the Mid Island Bluegrass Society, Linda Thorburn agreed organizing it all is a lot of work but she said they have been fortunate to have so much support.

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Sheena McCorquodale said when they first decided to host the festival people thought it may be in competition with the Coombs Bluegrass Festival, held in August ,but she said that wasn't the case. In fact McCorquodale said she believes the Lighthouse festival enhanced the Coombs event.

She said it's the bluegrass fans who bring their love of the music that make it a great event.

A lot of work goes into organizing such an event and McCorquodale admitted it is a big undertaking that requires many hands.

The Lighthouse festival has 11 different bands and McCorquodale expects there will be plenty of parking lot picking.

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"You can be standing beside a 40 year veteran or someone who has just started. People learn by playing with each other," she pointed out.

Having been to more than 65 bluegrass festivals, Thorburn knows what works and what doesn't and she said they want to continue to build on the success of last year's first festival.

A huge bluegrass party is taking place in Lighthouse Country over the Canada Day long weekend and with Omega Seamaster Orange Blue

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"Last year they had a record breaking year in Coombs. We are not stealing people from Coombs, we are just introducing more people to the Island and it is having a good impact on the other festivals."

word spreading about the success of last year's event Qualicum Bay is counting on building it's reputation as one of the must do music festivals on Vancouver Island's bluegrass circuit.

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"It's incredible to watch the professionals on stage, but to stay up all night and pick with them that is wonderful.

from people."

She said this year they have a volunteer coordinator, organizing people doing various jobs at the Qualicum Omega Blue Seamaster Bay Lions field. Thorburn who has been playing banjo for more than 30 years said her group Backporch Banjo will just do one set at the festival because she will be one busy lady during the event.

"The best thing I ever did was pick up the banjo. I had no idea it would open up the musical world that it did. I didn't know that I would get to meet Dr. Banjo Peter Wernick.

She said what is cool about their festival is that it is part of a circuit on the east coast of Vancouver Island. She said there are five weekends with three bluegrass festivals and two folk/roots festivals all happening one after another providing music lovers a great opportunity to explore the Island and indulge in all kinds of great music.

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You can experience it starting June 29 with a dance at the Lighthouse Community Hall featuring Sweet Ginger. June 30 to July 1 there will be a lineup of entertainers playing old time music, string band music, new grass, grass rock and other variations on the theme.

She stated most bluegrass fans like to play and the festivals provide that opportunity during impromptu jams at the campsite.

McCorquodale said it's a great opportunity for bluegrass fans.

at it on a daily basis but it is nice to be involved in something that has such positive comments Omega Seamaster 300 Titanium

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She said bringing in great musicians and having a great venue are only part of it.

She said the event is not only good for the Lighthouse community, but for tourism all over the Island.

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"He wrote the first banjo book I bought in 1981 and last year I brought his band here. He is a legend and it is incredible that we are making things happen here and I would like other people to also experience it."

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´╗┐Community support for bluegrass in Lighthouse country

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The Mid Island Bluegrass Society hosted some stellar bluegrass bands last year during the first annual Lighthouse Bluegrass Festival and according to organizers, the fans and the bands had only positive things to say.

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