A bluegrass festival this weekend makes a nice after-holiday treat. Hear Grammy-nominated musicians, a world-traveling local boy who’s returning to his hometown, and some of the best bluegrass bands in the business.

By Danita Allen Wood

The Missouri Area Bluegrass Committee, which is the oldest continuously running bluegrass organization in the country, according to their Facebook page, presents its 41st Annual Pat Strawhun Memorial Winter Bluegrass Festival on January 5 and 6 at the Holiday Inn Six Flags at Eureka, Missouri. Six different bands will play throughout the festival, with some bands making two appearances but playing different sets. 

Among the performers this year are C. J. Lewandowski, a Eureka native who now travels the world playing bluegrass. He tours with the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, which was nominated for a Grammy award. “Many people will remember him as a little kid playing, and it’s neat to see him living his dream,” says Walter Volz, one of the volunteers who helps put on the festival. You can see that band and hear them here.


In addition, perhaps the most well known band, Fast Track, out of Nashville, will be returning by popular demand. 

Fast Track, courtesy of Fast Track

One of the bands Walter is looking forward to hearing is River Bend, from Illinois, whose last album was nominated for a Grammy. You can sample their music here. You can also hear the music of the Finley River Boys’, also appearing at the festival. 

One of the performers is Wyatt Harman, with Harman & Ruble Band. Tragically, Mason Ruble, another founding member, passed away after a car accident in October, but the band continues with his name. 

Prices range from $15 to $30 depending on whether you want afternoon or evening performances, or the entire weekend. The six bands play different sets, of course, at different times. For more information and a full schedule, visit the festival Facebook page or call 636-441-7429. Tickets are available at the door, and the festival begins at 7 pm Friday and 1 pm Saturday. You may call the hotel directly for reservations at 636-938-6661. 

The festival is named in memory of Patricia A. Strawhun, who was a 38 year member of the Missouri Area Bluegrass committee but passed away in 2014. 

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.