RICHMOND -- Summer music season has officially begun in central Minnesota. The Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association opened their annual Bluegrass Kickoff Jam in Richmond on Friday night.

The event, which has been around for over 25 years, is a little different this weekend as there will not be any performances on the main stage.

However, the organization has added two Saturday workshops for banjo and mandolin that are open to players of all skill levels.

Event Coordinator Matt Johnson says the goal is to focus on the shared music-making experience.

We all come together and we all have a good time. We go make music together - it's the best thing. If you know 1,4,5 chords and G, D, A, you can come out and play music with anybody out here. That's the beauty of it, and making music with other people is one of the best things in this life, I would say.

The festival runs through Sunday at the El Rancho Mañana Campground. Tickets are $20 in advance or $30 at the gate for general admission.

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