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Main Stage: Norwegian Bluegrass
Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra performs for Dottie
October 7, 2022

riental’s weekend music festival, where bands play from the porches of village homes, would not be the same without the influence and leadership of Dottie Osmun.

It might not have been at all if Dottie and Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival co-founder Leslie Kellenberger had not been reminiscing about the musicians who would sit on the front porch of the Ol’ General Store jamming together.

The Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival was born from that conversation, first appearing on the porches of Oriental in 2014. Dottie was a driving force in shaping the Festival, even helping to choose some of the acts that came to town.

Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra from Norway, making their second appearance in Oriental, North Carolina.

It was the same with Norwegian Band Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra. Doug Sligh says he was instructed by Dottie to find a band that sounded like southern gospel to add to the lineup. Doug says he turned to YouTube, and went looking for renditions of the song Wayfaring Stranger.

There were few who caught his interest and none, he said, “that he would put on the stage.” But the YouTube algorithm kept recommending bands performing the standard and eventually he came across a band from Norway; Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra.

Rebekka Nilsson was named IBMA Vocalist of the Year just a week prior to visitng Oriental.
Players and tools of the trade: Moa Meinich and her fiddle bow, a mandolin, and a banjo.

Dottie and Doug were both hooked. Eight young musicians from Norway were performing music that, by their admission, few in Norway were familiar with. And they did it masterfully. Doug reached out to see if and when they might be visiting the United States.

Five of the eight member ‘Orchestra’. Clockwise: Rebekka Nilsson, Joakim Borgen, Moa Meinich, Magnus Eriksrud, and Emil Brattested.

It would be a few years before they could get here, but Doug finally got the call that the young musicians could attend in 2022. Dottie had a hand in this year’s festival preparations (as they often began about a month after the last one ended), but she passed away this January before seeing the band.

Festival board members passed through the crowds – on the lawn and off – with buckets to collect for the scholarship.
Moa Meinich lifts her fiddle and smiles for the camera.

To honor Dottie, the board of the Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival set up a benefit concert on Sunday directly following the festival. Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra were the only performers scheduled.

The band under Dottie’s banner, with a closer look at some of the players.

Some 400 people (in a village of 900) came out to the event. Sitting in lawn chairs or blankets on the lawn across from Lou Mac Park, they listened to the band from Norway, and their newly awarded 2022 IBMA vocalist of the year, sing bluegrass on a bright, sunny day. All told, the crowd raised over $6,000 for Dottie’s scholarship fund.

Hayde Bluegrass made a lot of new fans – young and old.
Rebekka Nilsson took the opportunity to take a few pictures of the band and the crowd.

During their set, the band invited the Oriental Drummin’ Dragons on stage to play with them. They also sat on the stage’s edge and nearby to speak with the crowd when the music was over.

The Drummin’ Dragons – Oriental’s drum circle that provides the backbeat for many of the larger events – was invited on stage to play with the band.

The kids from Norway, who returned safely home and went back to their day jobs, made an indelible impression on the crowd. They also helped make the benefit concert to Dottie Osmun and her vision of a small town music festival an outstanding success.

Joakim Borgen gets the crowd and the Drummin’ Dragons moving with the beat.
Rebekka Nilsson laughs during a meet and greet with the audience.
Sjur Marqvardsen wears his Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival hat while shaking hands with the crowd.
Doug Sligh with Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra.

The Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival returns October 6 & 7, 2023.

Posted Friday October 7, 2022 by Allison DeWeese

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