Sally Gap Bluegrass Festival kicks off Wednesday
Bluegrass music lovers take note. The 11th Annual Sally Gap Bluegrass Festival starts Wednesday and runs through Saturday.
For the third straight year, the festival is featuring four nights of entertainment.
Wednesday night will once again be gospel night with Virgil Bowlin and Peerless Mountain and New River Rising set to perform.
Thursday night features a couple of new events, including the first ever Sally Gap Band Competition and bluegrass karaoke with Kenny Stinson and his band, Perfect Tym’n.
“It’s like Karaoke but with a live band,” noted Sarah Williams, one of the festival organizers.
Bowlin will also have a free beginners jam on Thursday.
Friday night will be ladies night with five-time International Bluegrass Music Association female vocalist of the year Dale Ann Bradley performing.
“Dale Ann Bradley, who is closing ladies night, just got inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame a few weeks back,” Williams noted.
Also performing Friday will be Kenny Stinson and Perfect Tym’n, and Hedi and Ryan Greer.
On Saturday, Virgil Bowlin and Peerless Mountain, Bobby Hamblin and the Lawless and the Clay Hess Band will perform among many others.
Williams noted that her son, Brady Wallen, would be playing with the Clay Hess Band Saturday.
For the fifth year in a row, the festival will take place at 80 Savoy Beatty Road in Williamsburg on a portion of Whitley County Fiscal Court’s 100-acre industrial site. The site is also known as the new Whitley County Fairgrounds.
Benefits good cause
There is a $10 admission charge on Wednesday, a $20 admission charge on Thursday, and a $25 admission charge Friday and Saturday for the festival. A four-day pass is available for $60.
Williams said there are still some campsites that are available for a $50 fee to cover the four-day festival.
Proceeds from the festival go to benefit the American Traditional Music Project.
“The American Traditional Music Project has been a non-profit program for 15 years. In the past, they have put on school programs to educate children about bluegrass music,” Williams noted. “They have also done teacher workshops where teachers can get continuing education credits and learn how to introduce Bluegrass into their classrooms.”
This year’s festival will once again feature various workshops, including a workshop for children to introduce them to the origin of various instruments, which is being sponsored this year by Gibson’s Music. Children taking part in the workshop will get to build their own musical instrument.
There will also be free fiddle, guitar, banjo and mandolin workshops over the weekend for festival attendees.
Some of the adult workshops will be conducted by Bowlin, who is an instructor at the Hazard Community & Technical College’s Kentucky School of Bluegrass & Traditional Music.
There will also be a free workshop on clogging, which will be taught by Ms. Duffy from Canada, and Bowling will also teach a shape note workshop.
The American Traditional Music Project hopes to start offering free music lessons for children, whose families can’t afford lessons, and for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), who are undergoing music therapy.
“It hasn’t actually kicked off yet, but that is what we are working towards,” Williams added about the free music lessons.
About 1,000 people attended last year’s festival and Williams is expecting about the same number of people this year.
Entertainment for the Wednesday show will start at 5 p.m.
Entertainment for the Thursday’s show starts at 5 p.m. Entertainment for the Friday show will start at 2 p.m. and Saturday festivities start at 1 p.m.
For more information, log onto the festival’s Facebook page Sally Gap Bluegrass Festival.