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Featuring AJ Lee & Blue Summit, The Blue Js, and Snap Jackson & The Knock On Wood Players.

Summer heats up on the Central Coast, and there’s nothing cooler than a lakeside bluegrass concert … except, maybe a free bluegrass concert. The 3rd annual 4th of July Bluegrass Freedom Festival is a free-admission festival for the whole family.

Tucked into the early afternoon, the music starts at 2 p.m. at the Atascadero Lake Park, where giant oak trees provide shelter from the July sun, and rolling hills create the festival grounds where blankets and lowback chairs crowd the Kiwanis Bandstand for some of the best bluegrass of the summer.

Emceed by the one-and-only BanjerDan, the 2019 lineup begins with local jam group, The Toro Creek Ramblers, followed by newcomer to the event, AJ Lee & Blue Summit. Returning for the second year, youthful bluegrass five-some The Blue J’s play it fast and play it good, and headliner Snap Jackson and The Knock On Wood Players takes the evening home for the third year in a row, taking the stage at 6 p.m.

The event is planned to fit between morning local parades, and local evening fireworks, as San Luis Obispo County is a hotbed for 4th of July events.

The Bluegrass Freedom Festival caters to locals who don’t want to fight the coastal traffic to celebrate Independence Day, and it also makes a convenient stop for visitors. CA 101 and CA 41 intersect in the heart of Atascadero, and the Lake Park is just 1.3 miles on CA 41 west toward Morro Bay. Parking is always a challenge, so stay tuned to the website for more info the week of the event.

The Freedom Festival celebrates Independence Day with bluegrass music and a festival atmosphere filled with the smells of some of the best fair food in the area. The barbecue chicken and hamburgers are served by the nonprofit Colony Days committee members as a fundraiser for the October parade and festival. Other local star vendors serve pizza, paninis, roasted corn, hot dogs and polish sausage, tacos and burritos, mini donuts, kettle corn, shaved ice, and A&W rootbeer floats. The Kids Zone has bounce houses, community games, and more vendors for shopping and fun. The Toro Creek Ramblers will host an open jam session for bluegrass players and listeners during the event.

It’s a feel-good event that demands you “come-as-you-are, and go-as-you-please.”

The Atascadero Printery Foundation is back serving beer, wine, sodas and water to raise money for the rehabilitation project of Atascadero’s first completed civic-center building.

Altogether, the celebration is a gathering of what makes Atascadero great, and what makes America great — people doing what they love, together, on a sunny summer California day.

For more information, or to purchase discount Meal Deal tickets, go to atascaderofourthofjuly.com.

Thursday, July 4 • 2-7pm

Atascadero Lake Park