F-E-S-T-I-V-A-L! Festival season is upon us and the sounds of WOO bellowing from beneath the pines will fill the air before you know it. This page is a little insight of what's to come in the way of hot pickin' from the festival stages of shows that myself and other native woovillians attend during the season. Hopefully this will assist you in choosing which festivals you may want to attend throughout the year. If you happen upon a woovillian along the way, stop to shake and howdy!
October 13-17 1999
Port of Cincinnati
w/John Hartford, The Freight Hoppers, Mississippi Juke Joint w/R.L. Burnside, The Iguanas, Three on a String, Footworks, Jay Unger and Molly Mason, Peter Ostrousho and Dean Magraw, Saxhorn Band, Juggernaut Jug Band, Tony Ellis, Rob McNurlin and The Beatnik Cowboys (Bo-Man)
Tallstacks is a week long celebration of riverboats and music that happens once every four years at the Port of Cincinnati, which also includes Newport and Covington, Kentucky. This October will mark the fourth time the tallstacks have converged on Cincinnati. The celebration includes boat races, boat tours and cruises, a Civil War reenactment, entertainment for the kids, and live music. Much of the musical entertainment will be bluegrass and old-time with acts like John Hartford and The Freight Hoppers on-hand for much of the week. As in the past, Cincinnati areas own, Katie Laur, is in charge of the entertainment committee, so you can rest assure all the music will be top-shelf. For more on the entertainment and schedules, check out the Tallstacks website at www.tallstacks.com
The tours of the boats and boat cruise entries will take place on the Cincinnati side of the river, while the music takes place on both sides. If the past is any indication, most of the bluegrass will be on the Kentucky side, while most of the blues acts will more than likely be on the Ohio side. Please check the schedule before making your plans though. The best vantage point for viewing the tallstacks as they cruise up and down the river, and to have easy access to the bluegrass and old-time, is at the Newport Landing. A grassy hillside that serves as part of the Newport floodwall, provides a perfect place to spread a blanket and while away the hours, while enjoying a piece of the past. Also close by at the Newport Landing , you will find several floating restaurants/bars and several more floating restaurants/bars plus shopping at nearby Covington Landing
The Tallstacks that are part of this celebration are from port of calls along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Illinois Rivers with boats making the journey from the ports of New Orleans, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh and all points in between and beyond. Some of the finest vessels to ever navigate these waters will be on hand with the Belle of Louisville, Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen,and American Queen just to name a few. Admission to all the ports, is $5.00 per day, which allows you to watch the boats in all their glory and take in all the music and more. Separate tickets are required for boat tours and cruises. Check the Tallstacks website for details.
Folks, this event only comes around once every four years and if you're like myself and enjoy watching the paddlewheels and sternwheelers with their calliopes singing, floating aimlessly up and down the lazy Ohio River, while the sounds of bluegrass, old-time, blues and more fill the air, then this is the place for you. Experience a piece of yesterday and visit Tallstacks.NH
IIIrd Tyme Out, Lonesome River Band, Seldom Scene, Ralph Stanley, Dave Evans, Country Gentlemen, Goldwing Express, Lewis Family, Reno Brothers, Unlimited Tradition, Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain, Eddie and Martha Adcock, Rarely Herd, Karl Shiflett, Shankman Twins, BlueRidge, James King, and many, many more...
Poppy Mountain is rapidly becoming one of, if not the best festivals in this part of the country. In fact, this festival is so good, that as of 1998, IIIrd Tyme Out lent their name to this festival, which is now known as Poppy Mountain presents The IIIrd Tyme Out Bluegrass Festival. And with IIIrd Tyme Out's affiliation you get the extra bonus of seeing IIIrd Tyme Out perform numerous times. Last year they closed out the festival with a set that lasted 'till nearly 3 in the morning. Look for a special set to close out this years festival with the Doyle Lawson Reunion. With Quicksilver alumni, Russell Moore, Ray Deaton, and Mike Hartgrove of IIIrd Tyme Out and Lou Reid on hand with The Seldon Scene, magic is sure to be in the air.
Promoter and used car mogul, Marty Stevens really goes the extra mile when it comes to putting on a bluegrass festival. Besides 5 days of top-notch entertainment, there is also numerous give-aways during the week with prizes like free festival tickets, vacation getaways, diamond rings and always a grand prize give-away of a restored classic car. This years classic car will again be a restored Corvette.
The camping at Poppy Mountain is pretty good too with 1200 electric sites and many shaded primitive sites, though you may have to come in early to get a pristine site, as I intend to do again this year. Also at Poppy Mt., you'll find a lake for fishing, and numerous trails for hiking and four-wheeling. Be forewarned that due to over-population of ATV's, restictions have been put in place as to where and when you can ride ATV's, and with good reason, due to the amount of folks who attend this festival. Last years attendance was over 25,000 for the weekend, and I would expect the numbers to increase this year. Another plus is "free firewood" which will even be delivered to your camp-site upon request. The shower houses are a bit rugged and water has to be hauled in, so from time to time the supply dwindles, but they do a pretty good job of re-supplying and usually there is hot water. Marty is constantly making improvements, so I look for the shower houses to improve throughout the years.
Don't expect to walk anywhere unless you just choose to do so, for shuttles run the park on a very timely schedule with city transit buses, vans, and the Poppy Mountain Express, an open-air train pulled by a dressed up tractor, as an added attraction.
Wooville folks and friends, this is truely a fine festival, as is evident just by the lineup, with acts like IIIrd Tyme Out, Lonesome River Band, Seldom Scene, Ralph Stanley, and The Country Gentlemen, just to name a few. Expect the sound to be excellent, with The Bluegrass Strangers handling that chore, you get some of the finest sound in the business. There's plenty of activeties for the kids and the setting of the hills of eastern Kentucky make this festival complete. Don't Miss It!NH
Bean Blossom Jam Fest
w/Larry and Wyatt Rice, John Cowan Band, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Rhonda Vincent, Rambler Choice, Chris Jones and The Night Drivers, Claire Lynch, Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott, Cluster Pluckers, Wild and Blue, Harley Allen, Special Consensus, and Blue and Lonesome.
Bill Monroe Music Park
Bean Blossom, IN
July 30-31 1999
This will be my first trip to Bean Blossom, home of the Bill Monroe Museum and the Annual Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. The Bean Blossom Festival is held too close to The Festival of The Bluegrass for me to put it on my festival itinerary, but now with the addition of the Jam Fest, I have been able to schedule a long overdue trip. I had planned on attending the 1st Jam Fest last year, but just couldn't make it happen, but fear not, I will be there this year. I've heard so much about the improvements that have been made, heard stories of festivals past, and seen pictures of the park and I'm real excited that I'm going to get to see first-hand this place where the spirit of Bill Monroe walks. I again find myself in the role of wooville scout as I venture into the unknown. I have been able to persuade my wife, Linda, into making the journey with me, but have yet been able to coerce any of my wooville comrades into committing to make the journey. And to you, I say take a look at this Killer lineup, visit the Bean Blossom Webpage, and then ask yourself how you can miss out on visiting this place where so much bluegrass history has gone before.NH
with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Del McCoury Band, Osborne Brothers, The Lewis Family, Lonesome River Band, Blue Highway, Larry Stephenson Band, Northwest Territory, Seldom Scene, J.D. Crowe and The New South, plus classic performances together by (Bela Fleck, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, and Tim O'Brien), (Del McCoury, Sonny and Bob, Doyle, Jason Carter, and Dale Perry), and (Dudley Connell, Little Roy, Larry Stephenson, Ricky Simpkins, and Travis Lewis), plus the Saturday night finale of The Ronnie Bowman Experience with Dan Tyminski, J.D. Crowe, Aubrey Haynie, Don Rigby, Barry Bales, Tim Stafford, Sammy Shelor, Kenny Smith, Ron Block, and Jerry Douglas.
Hello Wooville and friends of Wooville. Let me tell you a little bit about The Bluegrass Classic. This is the 2nd year at the current location of Hoover-Y Park. This festival was formerly known as The Bluegrass Classic at Frontier Ranch, but because of a change in hands of the property at Frontier Ranch, Darrel Adkin's moved his festival to Hoover-Y Park, a move that seems to have been a good one. By the way, if you haven't heard, Frontier Ranch has been cancelled for 1999, but should return next year, says owner Marty Stevens, promoter of Frontier Ranch and The Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival, in Morehead, Kentucky.
The Bluegrass Classic at Hoover-Y has one of the shadiest concert areas you're likely to find, with tall shade trees everywhere. The camping is okay, but certainly not the best. There are some shady campsites with hooks-ups but those go early. The primitive camping, especially at the bottom of the hill, offers some pretty good shade along the outer edges and along the creek. This is where you'll find me and my wooville friends along with my new found friends from the Buckeye State. Looks like we'll have alot more in common this year, Go Browns!!!
Last year, the shower houses were sparse, to say the least, with only 2 shower stalls each. I spoke last week with Darrel and he told me that more showers had been added, but I'm not sure how many. Bluegrass Classic has always and continues to be one of the top festivals in the country. Last year Darrel pulled a coup and brought in Earl Scruggs, a feat that no other promoter was able to do because of Earl's limited touring schedule, and that is a reflection of Darrel Adkin's success. For more info check-out http://bluegrassclassic.com.
Okay Wooville, time is drawing near as we approach the 26th annual Festival of the Bluegrass, and the lineup this year looks to be exceptional. The original Dillards (the Darlings of Andy Griffith fame) with Doug Dillard's return on banjo will make their long overdue 1st appearance, and are sure to be a big hit. Festival favorites Seldom Scene, The Lewis Family, Dry Branch Fire Squad, and IIIrd Tyme Out are also on-board again this year, as is Doyle Lawson and Kentucky Blue. If the lineup stopped here, it would be a great festival, but folks, there's much, much more! Back after a several year absence is the legendary J.D. Crowe and the New South, hot off the trail with a brand new hit recording that you're gonna have to have for your very own. And just wait 'till you hear New South's newest member, Rickey Wasson, sing ya one about "Lefty's Old Guitar". Oh Baby!! Some faces to make their first appearance at FoB are The Kruger Brothers from Switzerland, who were the talk of last falls IBMA showcases, in Louisville. Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike have been playing to rave reviews everywhere they go. Some folks from Wooville will remember Valerie's bass player, Shelia Wingate, a super nice lady with some extremely talented kids. Sure hope they can make the trip to the Horse Park with her. The Gibson Brothers from upstate New York will make lots of new fans at the Horse Park as they do everywhere they go. Nickel Creek, headed up by young mando wizard, Chris Thile is sure to turn some heads of young and old alike with their brand of bluegrass fused with celtic, new age and more.
Pam Gadd also makes an overdue stopover. Some will remember Pam's work with the New Coon Creek Girls and before that, The Muddy River Band, as well as some work on the country side with Wild Rose. Good to see Pam back in bluegrass. Look out! Here comes New South alumni, Richard Bennett, also with a killer new project. Look for Richard to have some friends stop by for some hot pickin'. Another new group to make an appearance this year are The Wildwood Valley Boys (aka The Boys of The Boys from Indiana). Lots a great bluegrass coming from that gene pool. Also this just in, Mountain Heart (winning combination from Doyle Lawson alumni's) will grace the festival stage on Thursday and Friday.
Also I understand KET will again be taping the festival for upcoming episodes of Jubilee. Russ Farmer and his crew do a super job with little distractions, so please be patient and lend your support to KET for giving us folks here in Kentucky the best in bluegrass music throughout the year. I don't know about you, but I sure like being able to relive some of these great shows over and over again!
Every year you wonder how The Cornett's are going to top last years shows and somehow they manage it quite well. They are going to have their work cut out for them in 2000, but I'm sure they'll make it happen.