See tweets and photos from the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival in this live feed.

 

If you go

· What: Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival
· When: Aug. 14-17
· Where: Granite Hill Camping Resort, 3340 Fairfield Road
· Highlights: Also Steep Canyon Rangers, Blue Highway, Del McCoury Band. Two stages, all-day concerts, workshops and jams
· Details: For more information, visit www.gettysburgbluegrass.com

GETTYSBURG >> Rhonda Vincent makes it known she will work for cookies.

Sort of. The goodies she gets is how the "queen of bluegrass" remembers her return visits to places like Gettysburg, where she's hit the bluegrass festivals for some 15 years, spring and fall. "Mary Goodman brings us cookies," she said.

And a guy in Missouri, the same fan who always reminds her to drink lots of water, "makes the best peanut butter cookies." Another fan in another city regularly shows up with pumpkin rolls.

Rhonda Vincent and her band The Rage will appear in two shows Aug. 15 at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival Aug. 14 through 17 at Granite Hill Camping Resort, 3340 Fairfield Road.

It isn't just the performances she thinks about — it's the people, said Vincent in an interview this week with Public Opinion.


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"You don't just come to a show these days; we meet and greet after each show," she said. "Beyond that, we just hit 76,000 likes on Facebook, so I get to stay in touch with everybody."

As a five-time Grammy nominee with a band that's won more awards (80-plus) than any other bluegrass band, Vincent likes to mingle among the people who have helped her reach her career goals.

"There are people I only see in Gettysburg, and it's the people that make each place special," she said. "We have this one place we always park, and when we pull in there's always this long line of folks who just come by and say 'hello.' It's like a family, and we've come to know the family well, and we watch the grandkids grow."

Vincent's references to family are one of the ways she views the phenomenon of bluegrass music, and her band's fan base.

"With us, it's a diverse demographic from grandchildren all the way to grandparents. It's something you can bring your whole family to," she said.

Rhonda Vincent, "new queen of bluegrass" will perform Aug. 15 at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival.
Rhonda Vincent, "new queen of bluegrass" will perform Aug. 15 at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival. (Photo courtesy of Webster & Assoc.)

Not only all age groups, but all cultures. Her band travels worldwide to perform to audiences who've never experienced Appalachia or Bible belt America — the regions most closely associated with bluegrass roots.

"We've been to Switzerland multiple times, more than anywhere else," said Vincent. "We'll have our first concert in Norway next year, then to Amsterdam, then to Prague ..."

What's the draw to fans a world away?

"I think for bluegrass, there's an authenticity in the music," Vincent said without shame. "In this day and age, there are so many things created in the studio -- all the technical aspects. If you come to see our show in person, you're going to hear the same voice you would if you'd be listening to the recorded music."

Vincent's band The Rage consists of five other performers. They like to mix it up instrumentally on stage, but associated mostly with the fiddle is Hunter Berry, who's been with the band for 12 years; on upright bass is Mickey Harris, also in his 12th year.

Aaron McDaris, banjo player, has been around for six years and Brent Burke, who plays the Dobro (officially known as a resonator guitar) has been with the band for three.

Then, acoustic guitarist Josh Williams, who was part of the band in the past, is now in his second return year with The Rage.

When they perform at 1 and 8 p.m., Rhonda Vincent & The Rage will mostly give out music from the latest album, "Only Me."

Also of interest

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