Members of the Washington Bluegrass Association don’t stop stomping their feet when the last note sounds at the annual Mount St. Helens Bluegrass Festival in Toledo.
A packed house is expected Friday night when Midnight Run stops over at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis for a concert on their way back to Gatlinburg, Tennessee following a weeklong stint on a bluegrass cruise to Alaska. Tickets cost $10 and are available at the museum.
Midnight Run features four musicians, three of whom met while attending Eastern Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. They play a mix of original songs and classic covers while sticking close to the standard tropes of the genre.
“They’re more of a traditional type of bluegrass,” said General Cothren, president of the Washington Bluegrass Association. “They dress in overalls and things like that, like they’re from the mountains. They’re a traditional type of band, but they’ve played at a lot of different places in the eastwwern part of the United States.”
Midnight Run has indeed traveled to a wide range of locations since forming in 2015. The band has toured the British Isles, performed at Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and headlined cruises out of Florida, California and Seattle. The three members who met at ETSU are banjo player Colton Powers, guitarist Ben Wattington and bassist Max Etling. Lead vocalist Seth Mulder graduated from the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music.
Cothren said he first saw the group play in Lake Havasu, Arizona. They got in touch with him earlier this year to let him know they were going to be on a cruise out of Seattle and to ask if he could set up a show in Lewis County.
“They’re going to come off the ship Friday morning in Seattle,” Cothren said. “I will pick them up and bring them down for the show Friday night, then I’ll drive them back up Saturday and they’ll fly home to Tennessee.”
The events center at the Veterans Memorial Museum has played host to more than a few bluegrass concerts over the years. Museum Director Chip Duncan said the relationship has turned into a partnership of sorts that benefits both parties — the museum sees a noticeable uptick in business prior to the bluegrass shows, which often pack in around 200 people for the night.
“It kind of helps them out and helps us out,” Cothren said. “It helps the seniors, because I try to keep costs at $10. Most places you’d go to see these groups, you’d pay $20 or $30 to get in. I don’t think we’ll make money on this one, but I want to keep the price affordable. It’s what I try to work out when I bring these bands in here. This one was kind of a hurried deal right before the bluegrass festival. So, that’s what we did, we got it set up and now we hope for the best.”
For more information on the concert, visit veteransmuseum.org or call 360-785-3478.