Marana’s Bluegrass Festival

April 2, 2014 |
Dan Crary, a flat-picking dynamo, is the national headliner at the Marana Bluegrass Festival. photo via

Dan Crary, a flat-picking dynamo, is the national headliner at the Marana Bluegrass Festival.

There’s never been a more ideal opportunity for Tucsonans to escape from urban sprawl to the friendly, welcoming arms of the quaint, pastoral satellite of Marana than the Marana Bluegrass Festival, taking place in the center of Marana at the Ora Mae Harn Park (13250 N. Lon Adams Rd.) on Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13. The event will combine some of the best traditional bluegrass in Southern Arizona with a feel-good, family friendly atmosphere. Vendors will be offering a variety of food, beverages, and an array of arts and crafts. Throw in free tent and R.V. camping, with the $12/day or $20/both day pass, and a guitar workshop led by national headliner Dan Crary, and you’ll find the Marana Bluegrass Festival is an event too good to pass up.

Following the success of last year’s festival, the Marana Bluegrass Festival has garnered its place as an annual event. Truly a community effort, the festival would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of its many volunteers, the Town of Marana, the Desert Bluegrass Association (DBA of Tucson) and the Arizona Bluegrass Association (ABA of Phoenix). Marana promotes itself as a town “committed to our future, inspired by our past,” and certainly honors its folksy roots with an impeccable lineup of ten euphonious, “top notch” Arizona bands, including Run Boy Run and the Sonoran Dogs, augmented by National Headliner Dan Crary, a flat-picking dynamo who Guitar Player magazine declares “…must be heard to be believed.”

Dan Crary is a consummate entertainer who transcends the boundaries of style and genre, ranging from Mozart to traditional American fiddle tunes to evocative original compositions. Known for his endearing stage persona, he weaves anecdotes and observations from his 40-year career into his show with tongue in cheek humor. In 1994, Crary released the record Jammed If I Do (Sugar Hill), which features duets and charming spoken introductions with legends Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Norman Blake and Beppe Gambetta. The album was hailed as one of the decade’s great gathering of guitarists and received rave reviews. Festival attendees will have an opportunity to get up-close and personal with Crary at his guitar workshop from 1:45-3:45 p.m. on Saturday in the Marana Community Center, adjacent to the park. He will also give four performances over the course of the weekend: playing solo at 5 p.m. on Saturday, and as part of the “Guitar Summit,” featuring Tucsonans Greg Morton and Peter McLaughlin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, and 12:15 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Winning the hearts of traditional music fans across the land with their enchanting female vocal harmony, Tucson’s own Run Boy Run was born in 2009, won the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest in 2011, and was a featured guest on Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion in 2013. The evocative pairing of brother and sister Matt and Grace Rolland, combined with sisters Bekah and Jen Sandoval and bassist Jesse Allen, adds subtle expressions of classical, jazz, and folk to a core influence of Appalachian traditional music. Don’t miss this exciting new act, showcasing at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1:45 p.m. on Sunday.

Other highlights of the festival include the Sonoran Dogs, combining the talents of Peter McLaughlin and other seasoned veterans of the Arizona Bluegrass scene; Crucial County, featuring 2 time Four Corner State Banjo Champion Rudy Cortese; and the Jam Pak Blues ‘N’ Grass Band, a heartwarming ensemble of 2 dozen children from a neighborhood in Chandler, Arizona. If you’re looking for a change of pace and some wholesome inspiration this spring, the Marana Bluegrass Festival awaits you with open arms.

Events run from 9:45 a.m.-5:45 pm. both days. Find more information at


Category: Arts, Community, MUSIC