Pitt Meadows has become a regular on the bluegrass circuit with a regular biweekly bluegrass circle.
Now its champions want to take it a step farther and are organizing a mini-bluegrass festival in mid September.
The Bergthorson Academy of Musical Arts and the BAMA Bluegrass Circle are piloting the one-day festival in the hopes it grows in the coming years.
The event will be emceed by bluegrass musician and music teacher Denis Leclerc.
The festival, which takes place on Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall, is being dubbed a birthday party for Bill Monroe - the man who coined the term bluegrass and was a pioneer in the musical genre. Monroe would have been 101 years old this September.
Bluegrass is experiencing a "big resurgence" all over North America, said Bob Hornsey with Bergthorson Academy of Musical Arts.
It's partly due to the 2000 movie O Brother Where Art Thou, but Hornsey and Leclerc said there's also a lot of bluegrass elements in indie music and even pop music.
"It's creeping into all kinds of pop music... it's really exciting music," Hornsey said.
Leclerc teaches banjo, mandolin, and fiddle at the Bergthorson Academy of Musical Arts, and Hornsey pointed out that half of the people coming to learn these instruments are between the ages of 16 and 20.
"They're the people who really want to learn banjo and mandolin," Hornsey said. "To me that's an exciting thing because it tells me [bluegrass] is alive."
A bluegrass band traditionally consists of one or two fiddles, a five-string banjo, a flat-top guitar, a standup bass, a Florentine mandolin, and a resophonic guitar. This is mixed with very complex vocal harmonies to give a bluegrass sound.
The roots of bluegrass music are in country music, but the music has evolved and adopted influences from everything from Scottish and Celtic music to old-timey.
Bluegrass music is very fluid, and it can blend with other styles and produce variations of the style.
But it all comes down to a "high lonesome" bluegrass sound that celebrates the highs and lows of the plight of ordinary people.
Bluegrass festivals might include big name bluegrass bands, but the real music starts after the show when spontaneous bluegrass circles begin playing - and that's what really sells a festival, Leclerc said.
"Mini-circles then erupt all over and go on all night long," he added.
At the centre of the circle are the players, surrounding them are people who aren't as skilled but want to quietly join in the music, and the outer circle is the audience that just wants to enjoy the live, spontaneous music.
The mini-bluegrass festival in Pitt Meadows is being dubbed as a Happy Birthday Bill Monroe event - Monroe's 101st birthday would have been Sept. 11.
The festival will take place at the Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall, 12460 Harris Rd.
Workshops start at 4: 30 p.m. and the main doors open at 7 p.m.
There will be a workshop with John Reischman on mastering the mandolin from 4: 30 to 6 p.m.
There will also be two other bluegrass master classes: a guitar workshop with Lee Watson and a banjo with Nick Hornebuckle. The headliner on the main stage will be John Reischman and the Jaybirds.
Just before the main stage event and in between sets, there will be a "jam scramble," whereby musicians put their name in a hat and they are drawn - one name from the guitar hat, one from the bass hat, and so forth. The musicians chosen then form a group and have 20 minutes to come up with a song, rehearse it, and then they have to perform it.
For tickets to the bluegrass mini-festival, call the Bergthorson Academy of Musical Arts at 604-467-6613.