Kids on Bluegrass

The California Bluegrass Association is well known and acknowledged for our Kids on Bluegrass (KOB) program. KOB has been emulated by festivals around the world including the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) annual event, the World of Bluegrass.

CBA member Frank Solivan, Sr. put together a group of young pickers at a festival a quarter century ago because his young musician son, Frank Solivan II, wanted to play on the main stage. Play they did, and the Kids on Bluegrass (KOB) program began. Today KOB is directed by Frank’s successor, Helen Foley, who herself has risen through the CBA’s youth programs.

Kids on Bluegrass will be back at this year’s Father’s Day Festival, and it will be better than ever! Running for over 35 years, KOB is a program where kids come together and practice for multiple days in preparation for shows on the Main Stage at the festival. This is the perfect place for talented youth looking to develop a strong stage presence, work together with members of a band, practice putting on a real show, and make life-long friends and memories!

All kids interested in KOB – both new and returning – will be asked to audition on Thursday morning of the festival before rehearsals start.

In order for participants to be able to take full advantage of what the program has to offer, they will be expected to know how to play backup rhythm in time with others, know multiple tunes by heart, and have a tune or song in mind that they might be interested in leading. Singers are encouraged to participate! Auditions are open to any “kid” under the age of 18. (We have even had qualified 7-year-olds!) Since KOB is not centered around teaching kids how to play their instruments, beginner level performers are encouraged to explore opportunities provided by the other CBA programs such as KidFest or the Youth Academy.

KOB is a concentrated experience, with practices only on Thursday and Friday and a single show on the Main Stage on Friday afternoon. In place of the KOB show regularly scheduled for Saturday afternoon, we will be putting on a very special CBA Youth All-Stars show! Stay tuned on the Youth section of the website for more details about this celebration of the incredible talent the CBA has helped foster, as well as more of the who, what, when, and where of Kids on Bluegrass at Father’s Day.

Helen Garett, Program Director

large group of young bluegrass musicians on the Father's Day Festival stage
4 teens on FDF main stage

Frank Solivan Sr launched the CBA “Kids on Bluegrass” program almost 35 years ago.

Keep his dream alive by contributing to Franks Fund – with 100% of donations supporting CBA Youth