Bluegrass Festival In Virginia
Bluegrass music is heard from coast to coast and has a big following in Virginia. There’ll be a bluegrass festival at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the first weekend of June.
The Graves Mountain Festival of Music is a three-day event that draws bluegrass lovers from all over the country:
Newton: This is our 18th season and it’s located at Graves Mountain, which is in Syria, Virginia, in Madison County.
Mark Newton is one of the organizers, he and his band perform, and he’s producing a recording of the event. Even after 18 years, Newton says:
Newton: You know, every year is a new year and we always try to take a fresh approach and take a look at not only the talent but also come up with some different ideas. For example, on Thursday, June 3 we have two young people, two sisters, called the Church Sisters, that are actually out of Danville, Virginia. And I think they’re like 8 and 12 and they sing, they’re very mature in terms of their singing and their pitch is awesome, they sing great harmony, and I think the fans will enjoy them. Then on Saturday we have Daily and Vincent and Daily and Vincent are, I think, arguably probably the hottest group in our business at this time.
The music goes on all day and into the night:
Newton: Eleven thirty a.m. and goes to 10:10 at night. And then the first half of the day will be the respective rural rhythm artists with their groups or what have people like. The Crow Brothers and Carrie Hassler and Audie Blaylock and Lou Reid & Carolina and the Lonesome River Band and Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. That will take us to about 6:00 and then the second half of the evening we’ll also use that talent but we’ll mix and match with various combinations which the crowd always seems to enjoy seeing that type of things.
The music you’re hearing is by Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, also among the performers this year.
Newton said the view from the stage always takes his breath away. The Festival regularly draws 5,000 people over its three days. And, he noted, they’re people of all ages.
Newton: I think that at the end of the day what makes bluegrass music special is because it’s a part of our culture, it’s a part of America, it’s a part of the fabric. The music, you can look out into the audience and you can see three generations or four generations.
Bluegrass music also, Newton observed, is passed down in families, along with other traditions.
Newton: They might remember their grandparents, you know, camping, and then as they’ve gotten older and on their own, they’ll do that identical thing and it will pass from one generation to the next.
You can learn more on line at www.gravesmountain.com/bluegrass.htm.
John Ogle, WCVE News.