When the annual Billy’s Belly Bluegrass Music Festival & Competition was scrapped this year because of its top organizer’s health problems, the folks at Wesserunsett Arts Council stepped in with their own event.

The arts council, in collaboration with its community radio station WXNZ, came up with its own festival — the Art in the Woods art and music competition at the Billy’s Belly Pavilion in North Anson.

The event is scheduled to start at noon Saturday at the venue off Clark Road.

Gates open at 10 a.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring paintings, drawings, sculpture or instruments, said WXNZ’s Andy Wendell. Cash prizes will be awarded for best art and best musical performances.

“The organizer, Bill Owens, had health issues, and he was afraid that he’d have to cancel it at the last minute; so he gave me the chance to keep doing what I was planning on, which is the WXNZ art and music competition,” Wendell said. “We are giving away awards for best painting, best sculpture, best drawing and best ‘other’; and the music is best group performance, best individual performance and best original composition.”

Wendell said the original plan was to have events both Saturday and Sunday, but now it’s Saturday only.


“We were Saturday and Billy was Sunday and the idea was to get people to come for the full weekend,” he said. “Now it’s a one-day event.”

Admission to the pavilion grounds costs $10, but no fee is charged for entering a competition.

WXNZ, 98.1 FM, is a low-power community radio station and broadcasting and media production company located in the former Somerset County Jail in downtown Skowhegan. Because of the jail connection, the station is called HooSkow Radio, a play on a slang term — “hoosegow” — derived from the Mexican Spanish word for jail.

“It’s kind of like an open mic with prizes,” Wendell said. “The art judging will be done by 3 p.m. by popular vote, so everybody gets to vote on the art. The music will be done by judges to keep it consistent, and the music will go until 4 or 5 p.m.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367



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