Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Strawberry adds five acts (and a mea culpa)

Strawberry Music Festivals today added five new names to the mix for its two 2006 festivals--all performers who have played previous festivals one or more times. For Spring, Misty River, an all-female quartet from Oregon, and Ruthie Foster, a gospel and blues belter out of Austin, are the new additions. Misty River played the Fall 2001 festival, while Foster appeared in Spring 2003. Both played Sunday Revival sets in addition to their main stage gigs.

For Fall, Peter Ostroushko, Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan and Blue Shoes help to round out the schedule for what is shaping up as a great anniversary program. Ostroushko is the versatile mandolinist/fiddler out of Minneapolis who was once a regular on Prairie Home Companion and has composed scores for a variety of films and orchestral projects. He last played Strawberry way back in Spring 1987. Ball and Sultan are a folk-blues duo who have appeared many times, most recently in Fall 2003. Blue Shoes, a duo from the Sierra Nevada foothills who appeared at Strawberry in Fall 2003, plays swing-blues styles from the 30s and 40s.

On a different note, festival management issued an apology to fans for its decision not to release a 2006 calendar as had been previously promised. In years past, this popular mailing featuring color photos of the previous years' fests had been mailed in April along with final lineup announcements. Last year, the promoters announced they would separate the two mailings so that early calendar production deadlines would not shorten the contract season. The calendar was then promised for December, but that date came and went with no mailing. Today, Strawberry put out the word that "unanticipated life and business events that stretched us thin" and that there were insufficient "staff resources to successfully produce a 2006 Strawberry Calendar."


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