Filling the air with music

T-R photos by Thomas Nelson — The Purdy River Band plays at The Bluegrass-Americana-Folk Music Festival in Le Grand Saturday afternoon. The event was hosted by the band.

Saturday was a good day for a music festival.

A sunny summer day in Le Grand accompanied the Bluegrass-Americana-Folk Music Festival at the Community Park Bandshell. The event was organized by The Purdy River Band which opened the festival.

“They wanted to do something for the community,” said Nancy Lahr, the wife of the band’s singer.

Groups of listeners sat roughly six feet apart from other groups. Some wore masks, others decided not to, but they all shared an enthusiasm for bluegrass, Americana and folk music.

Jim Morris, who played the dobro — a guitar played flat — hopes the festival becomes an annual occasion.

Steven Moon, left, plays banjo with Rex Gunderson, right, who plays fiddle at the Bluegrass-Americana-Folk Music Festival.

“It gets us spread out, outside,” Morris said. “It kind of gives a sense of normalcy, and we need that.”

The Purdy River Band, which formed in 2013, offered up songs like the Blue Ridge Mountain Memory. In between songs the band’s singer Chuck Lahr offered up jokes and observations to the social distanced crowd like, “I guess you’re getting old when you and teeth no longer sleep together.”

The group was made up of five men who each played a different stringed instrument.

Three other bands played on Saturday. Two of the bands came from the Marshalltown area and included the Prairie Creek String Band, County Line and the Riggs Family.

“We’re going to have a good time today,” Morris said.

Chuck Lahy plays guitar and sings at the Bluegrass-Americana-Folk Music Festival.

The bandshell in Le Grand was close to a children’s playground and at times the kids on the swing set kept in rhythm with the performers.

A relieved atmosphere permeated along with a light breeze cooling the audience as the temperature rose above 80 degrees.

The audience came from all around Iowa, some traveling 100 miles.

“I know they enjoy the music or they wouldn’t be here,” Morris said.


Jim Morris plays dobro at the Bluegrass-Americana-Folk Music Festival in Le Grand Saturday afternoon.

Contact Thomas Nelson at 641-753-6611 or tnelson@timesrepublican.com.


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