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North Cascades Bluegrass Band

Each year the North Cascades Bluegrass Festival features a band of local musicians brought together just for the occasion. This year we have Michael Medler and Ian McClellan from the High Mountain String Band on bass and banjo. They will be joined by Mike Faast from the Cascades Bluegrass Boys on guitar and Toby Simcox on mandolin. All these musicians have been holding down the bluegrass tradition in this corner of the US.

Ian McLelland, who has graced the North Cascades Bluegrass Festival stage in previous years, has been playing bluegrass in and around Bellingham for 12 years as a founding member of the High Mountain Band. Ian is also a career stewardship forester and wildland firefighter.  In his spare time Ian enjoys hanging out with his wife and son on their small farm in Whatcom County growing food and raising chickens.

Tobias Simcox, who has also graced the North Cascades Bluegrass Festival stage in previous years, is a mandolin and fiddle player from Marysville Washington. He has been a lifelong local musician and a prominent member of bands such as A Well Known Stranger and String Theory.

Mike Faast, who we are welcoming to the North Cascades Bluegrass Festival Main Stage for the first time, currently serves as bandleader for the Mike Faast Trio, Brother’s Keeper (gospel), the Cascade Mountain Boys (Bluegrass), the Jangles (Western Swing), and the Jangles Quartet (acoustic string band). Mike has been performing concerts on the West Coast for over thirty years, and his bands have performed in hundreds of events in the great Northwest. In 2016 Mike was inducted into the Northwest chapter of the Western Swing Hall of Fame!

Michael Medler, who has also graced the North Cascades Bluegrass Festival in previous years, has played bass in Whatcom County for The High Mountain String Band, The Yankee Drivers, and Heron Crow. He is also a professor at Western Washington University where he studies forest fires.