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Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival volunteers get free ticket for musical feast in Guthrie

In exchange for working six to eight hours during the course of the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival, volunteers get free admission to all three days of the Guthrie event.
by Kimberly Burk Published: October 4, 2013

— Volunteers get a sweet deal at the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival.

In exchange for working six to eight hours during the course of the festival, volunteers get free admission all three days.

What's more, they receive access to the jam sessions in the campground, something not currently available to ticketed patrons.

“The Cottonwood Creek Stage is an amateur stage set up in the campground,” said Stacey Watts, co-coordinator of volunteers. “People who are camping can sign up and perform in front of a live audience, get a chance to work on their stage presence, to jam together. That's some seriously amazing music.”

Campers staying in tents and recreational vehicles arrive before the festival and hang around afterward; the campground availability lasts for eight days. That's part of why Watts and co-coordinator Delores Stokes need an army of volunteers — about 420 this year. And they are always looking for more.

Joe and Lois Sturgil, of Edmond, take their RV to the festival and volunteer at the campground. RV camping is one of the hobbies they have taken up since he retired from the postal service.

“We love the bluegrass music,” Lois Sturgil said.

Ticket-taker Robin Nicholas, of Mulhall, said she works for InterBank in Guthrie, which allows her to take days off to volunteer at the festival. This is her 16th year to volunteer, and the Kruger Brothers and Hunt Family Bluegrass are her favorite bands.

Volunteers come from all across the state, but most are from Guthrie, Watts said. Many arrive a week early to start setting up the campground and doing other preparation such as grounds maintenance and electrical work.

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by Kimberly Burk
Assistant Local Editor
Kimberly Burk is a Missouri native who spent 20 years working for newspapers in Texas before joining The Oklahoman as an editor in 2002. As a reporter, she most enjoyed the years she spent on the religion beat and covering senior citizen issues....
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