Air Time Music Festival returns Oct. 1-2
After taking a year off because of the pandemic, the Air Time Music Festival will return to Madras Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1-2.
"It gives people a time to get together and enjoy music and a chance to perform," said Judith Bowden, who is helping put on the event.
Festival founder Kenny Bicart is calling it the "almost fifth annual" event.
"The virus shut us down," Bicart said of the 2020 music festival. "This will be our fifth event almost annually."
The event opens at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 in the Erickson's Aircraft Collection Hangar on Berg Drive in Madras and continues until 9 p.m. It opens at 10 a.m. the next day and goes until 9 p.m.
"We have so much hidden talent in this Central Oregon area, it's unreal," Bicart said. "I like to keep it to individuals that like to come and play and have a good time. We're not there to judge anybody on how good or bad they are. If you want to dance a little bit, you can do that."
Festival-goers will perform and sit amongst the airplanes and exhibits at the museum.
"The planes are the backdrop," Bowden said.
"They have plenty of room, and the acoustics are great up there, and people can come in and look and maybe get a bite to eat," Bicart said of the air museum.
The Shaniko Ragtime Players headline the Air Time Music Festival with their ragtime tunes, and the Ol' Front Porch Band will perform Friday night. Organizers are planning for 50 or more Central Oregon musicians to perform a variety of genres, such as country, blue grass, ragtime, folk and jazz.
"In 2019, I think we had 56 performers and all but six were local from Central Oregon," Bicart said. "I hope we have that many or more this year."
They play the piano, guitars, fiddle and banjo. Pianists will have access to two pianos at the museum, including a Baby Grand Piano and a Spinet Piano.
"Each piano player that we have has their preference as to what they want to play, so we should have it pretty well covered on that," Bicart said.
A schedule of performers will be posted at the event, but it will also include nightly jams and open mic sessions.
"I was surprised that there's even people I've known all my life that I didn't know they knew one note from another, and they come in and play in the open mic," Bicart chuckled.
Admission donations are appreciated, Bowden said, and donations will cover the cost of facility rental, insurance, advertising and supplies.
In years past, more than 100 visitors have come up to the museum for the festival in addition to the scheduled performers. Some folks come to hear one specific group while others come for the entire festival.
Bicart got the idea for a local music festival in 2015 after Keith Taylor and his Shaniko Ragtime Players had difficulty finding a venue for a jam session in Madras. Because he's an Erickson's Aircraft Collection supporter and has two vehicles exhibited at the museum, Bicart was able to secure the hangar for the inaugural Air Time Music Festival in the fall of 2016. With the help of some local musicians, he invited Taylor and his Shaniko jazz players to headline the event.
They have put on the festival each fall since then, with the exception of 2020, featuring bands and performers from Shaniko to Bend, including Prineville, Madras, Culver, Redmond and Tumalo.
"It's only because of the locals that do their thing that we can have this program," Bicart said.
Air Time Music Festival
Date: 1-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2
Location: Inside the Erickson's Aircraft Collection Hangar, 2408 NW Berg Drive in Madras.
For more information, call Kenny Bicart, 541-420-7845.
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