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Old and young enjoy Bluegrass Festival

Rex Locklar’s Henderson Bluegrass Jamboree brings people of all ages together to celebrate music, and this year’s 44th annual Bluegrass Festival was no exception.

Every year the festival bridges the generation gap and brings together young and old to celebrate the history and the fun of bluegrass music.

This year’s festival included Lisa Atwell, a woman who has not missed a Henderson Bluegrass Jamboree since 1970, and first time festival attendee, 5-year-old Justin Beck from Andalusia.

Beck said the banjo was his favorite musical instrument, as he sat plucking away at it with his uncle.

“This is my first time coming to the festival,” Beck said. “I really like bluegrass music. I like the banjo best, and I want to come back next year.”

Atwell, who is from Montgomery, said she knew bluegrass music would be a big part of her life after her first Henderson bluegrass festival in 1970.

“I fell in love with bluegrass music when I first came here in 1970 and since then I’ve been to festivals all over the country,” Atwell said. “I have never missed a Henderson festival. The bluegrass festival means good music and good friends. It’s just a good, friendly time where you can escape your stress and forget your problems.”

Margaret and Dave Fox, first time festival attendees, said they fell in love with bluegrass music so much that they hosted their own bluegrass festival.

“We love the music,” Dave Fox said. “This is our first time coming to the Henderson festival, and we just love it. We fell so in love with the atmosphere of bluegrass festivals that it inspired us to host our own festival this past year. It’s amazing how bluegrass brings people together.”

Jane Langford attended her first festival in the ‘70s, and said bluegrass music was a way to reconnect with the past.

“This is just a great way to get back to your roots and relieve the stress of modern society,” Langford said. “I’ve made friends here that will last through the generations.

“Bluegrass festivals are a great opportunity to reconnect with the past and with those you love.”