‘Tis the season for renewed hopes of windows opening both figuratively and literally. The third U.S. sanctioned vaccine was announced this week and new cases of Covid are steadily declining. As we are slowly shaking off the frigid temperatures of the past few weeks, I think this month may offer a few more outdoor opportunities and open windows.

By Mark Panfil

The restaurants and bars are slowly opening and live music is slowly coming back to western New York. The Sportsmen’s Tavern has live music again but except for the country and bluegrass lunches, you should get a reservation and in most cases buy tickets for those shows.

For the bluegrass lunch, Doug Yeomans, Mark Panfil and Rich and Sally Schaefer are crafting sets that highlight the best in traditional and modern bluegrass music every first and third Thursday of the month, starting at noon and going to about 2:15 p.m. Reservations are not required; neither is a ticket or cover charge, although tips are gratefully accepted. The band has been playing twice monthly for the better part of the last three years and is presently in the planning stages of a new CD featuring them and a few other veterans of the bluegrass scene in Buffalo. Stay tuned for updates.

The Buffalo Bluegrass Youth Ensemble is meeting in person starting this month. We welcome student string musicians 10-21 years of age from anywhere in the area. Details are on www.BuffaloBluegrass.com.

The bluegrass jam session and free concerts will resume in April according to Charlie Kesterson, member of the board of the Western New York Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association. The events take place at Bennington Lanes, 1374 Clinton Street in Bennington, N.Y., from 2 to 7 p.m. every second Sunday of the month. They hope to see a big crowd for Sunday, April 11, 2021. It’s free!

Doug Yeomans continues his live Facebook Sunday morning bluegrass shows starting at 9:30 a.m. on his Facebook page.

This month, Chris and Mark Panfil will do their own live Facebook show on Wednesday, March 31, starting at 7 p.m. on the Panfil Brothers Facebook page. They will be featuring songs from Panfil Brothers’ CDs and other songs by some of the great songwriters on the national scene.

Did you know that WXRL radio, AM 1300 and FM 95.5 FM, have gone live on the internet too? And that they broadcast a weekly syndicated Bluegrass show every Tuesday night? “Into The Blue,” with host Terry Herd can be heard from any computer or smartphone at www.WXRL.com

The Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival is going to happen in person this year on June 10-13, 2021. It was live in-person last summer, too! It is the 40th annual of what may be the longest running continuously run live in-person bluegrass festival. (Remember how Bubba Gump Shrimp got so big?). It is easy to stay socially distant and still enjoy national bluegrass acts at the festival in Wind Gap, Pa. It’s a five-hour drive from the Panfil homestead in Hamburg, N.Y.

Have a great month, enjoy the Irish music live and online. Our band, Emerald Isle, is playing quite a few live local shows. Please check us out on EmeraldIsleBand.com.

Keep on Pickin’
Mark Panfil



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