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Grant will fund Americana festival

The Rosemount Area Arts Council has picked up steam over the last couple of years planning events and offering opportunities for residents. The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council has taken notice and has awarded the young group a grant.

MRAC awarded the arts council a $7,300 grant to plan a Bluegrass/Americana festival the first weekend of Leprechaun Days in 2010. The money will help the arts council expand an already existing event that has proven popular.

"We are very excited about this," said RAAC president Jeanne Schwartz.

The Creative Intersections grant will help RAAC expand the annual Leprechaun Days Bluegrass concert into a three-day event focused on Bluegrass and Americana. The group has to match the amount awarded. Schwartz said 50 percent will be through financial donations and 50 percent will be through the donation of services and equipment.

Interest in Bluegrass and Americana has grown, Schwartz said. So the committee charged with writing the grant felt a festival featuring inherently American music and dance would be a good way to expose residents to the art forms and a little bit of history.

"There's a huge resurgence of this type of music and it forms the backdrop of our community," said Schwartz.

The three-day festival will begin Friday, July 23. The first night will focus on dance including clogging and square dancing. Schwartz said they hope to enlist a square dance caller and some seasoned dancers to teach residents how to square dance.

"We want to have an educational component to it," Schwartz said.

The second night, July 24, will focus on Bluegrass music. Schwartz said several bands will perform during an evening show.

"We're very excited because apparently we have some fine performers right here in Rosemount," said Schwartz.

Then on Sunday, July 25, the focus will be gospel music. Schwartz said the arts council hopes to recruit several Rosemount church choirs to perform.

"Our goal is to provide entertainment that everyone in the community can enjoy," said Schwartz.

In addition RAAC member John Loch said they hope to have an arts and crafts fair through the weekend that will feature classic American forms. For example, Loch said, they hope to have blacksmith participate.

Loch said the arts council hopes to make the festival a top notch event.

"Our goal in the long term is to become one of the top Bluegrass/Americana festivals in Minnesota," said Loch.

The Creative Intersections program provides up to $10,000 for projects that will build bridges among community sectors and that have the benefit of building momentum toward strengthening the community as a whole through a quality arts development project according to the groups web site.