Stratford brings back bluegrass

STRATFORD – Stratford is gearing up for its 30th annual Stratford Bluegrass Festival at the Stratford City Park Friday through July 13.

“It’s been going for so many years and it seems to be growing and growing,” Aaron Bradley, Stratford Stride coordinator, said. “That’s what’s really exciting.”

The headlining band this year is the Lonesome River Band.

“You don’t want to miss them,” Bradley said.

The band is currently on a U.S. tour and recently returned from a European tour.

“They’re out and about all over,” Bradley said.

The band, which has played on the Late Show with David Letterman, will perform Saturday evening.

Other bands include Audie Blaylock and Redline, Bluegrass Martins, The Harper Family, Bull Harman and Bull’s Eye, Bluegrass Blondies from Iowa, Lori King & Junction 63, and No Grass Limit.

“The music is the main reason we do it,” Bradley said.

Bradley said the festival is unique.

“The atmosphere is a lot different from other concerts that people go to,” he said. “The atmosphere is very family friendly since no alcohol is allowed on grounds.”

In addition to the music will be a parade on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

The parade will start at the Lutheran Church at 812 Teneyck Ave., march past the City Park, go around the block and back to the church.

A new part of the growing bluegrass festival is a 5k run Saturday at 7:30 a.m.

Pre registration is technically over, but it’s not too late to sign up.

It’s $20 to participate in the run and get a T-shirt. Runners can sign up the day of the run or online at

The festival will also have a wide variety of food, including ribeye steak sandwiches, Iowa pork chops, beefburgers and homemade pie.

“We do all our own food here,” Bradley said. “The Iowa chops, those are always good.”

Most people attend the festival on Saturday but Bradley suggests seeing the whole festival.

A weekend pass is $35; other passes range from $20 to $25.

The weekend pass also includes a slice of pie.

Kids under 14 years old can attend the festival for free.

Camping is available for both for campers and tents.

On Sunday, is a community church service at 10:30 a.m. at the City Park.

“Everyone is invited,” Bradley said.

Afterwards will be a large meal, he said.

Sunday will wrap up with gospel music.