By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The Carter County Shrine Club Bluegrass Festival is nearly upon us, and I’m excited for the music. But while the music is always fantastic, this particular bluegrass festival isn’t just about the music.
No, it’s the Shriners’ festival, so that means it’s about giving back to the community – specifically the children.
The Carter County Shrine Club, like Shrine Clubs all across the country, helps financially support the Shriners Children’s Hospitals. These hospitals treat all patients, regardless of their ability to pay, helping keep families hopeful and whole as they work their way through treatment and recovery.
The bluegrass festival helps raise thousands of dollars for the hospital each year, supporting the hospitals in their mission.
But let’s be honest, if the music wasn’t good, no one would come out – and the lineup is always top-notch at this festival, and this year is no different.
Thursday’s schedule includes Black Powder Express at noon, 7 Mile Bluegrass at 12:50, Southridge at 1:40, Lacy Creek at 2:30, and the Tommy Webb Band at 3:20 p.m. After a 4 p.m. supper break the music resumes at 4:30, with a repeat of the pre-supper lineup and Turning Ground finishing out the night, playing from 8:40 until they decide they’re done.
On Friday music kicks off at the same time, with the Kevin Prater Band (12 and 4), Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive (12:50 and 4:50), Blue Highway (1:40 and 5:40), and Lonesome River Band (2:30 and 8:05). This time the change in the after supper line-up includes the addition of Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys to the schedule at 6:30 p.m., between Blue Highway and Friday finisher the Lonesome River Band, who plays from 8 until late.
It’s a great line-up, but if you weren’t sold already, Saturday should do it. Things kick off at noon again with Fenced In, followed by Sammy Adkins and the Sandy Hook Mountain Boys (12:50), Hammertowne (1:40), Dale Ann Bradley (2:30), Dave Adkins (3:20) and Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out (4:10). This line-up repeats after a 5 – 5:30 supper break too. Only, in the second set, the seven time IBMA Vocal Group of the Year IIIrd Tyme Out doesn’t have to stop for supper. They’ll play from 9:40 p.m. until they’re ready to stop for the night.
Even then, and at supper, you’ll find folks picking around their campsites and picnic tables. It’s a wonderful weekend of good music, good food, and good folks, and well worth your time. For more information, and advance tickets, call 606-286-4611 (daytime) or 606-286-4075 (evenings). Or check them out online at shrinersbluegrassfestival.com.
Of course, you can also just show up at and pay for the day, or the full weekend, at the gate.
One of my favorite things about this particular festival is I can show up, enjoy the music, and still get home and sleep in my own bed at night. But if you want to stay, you can still check into camping accommodations. Campground organizer Kenny Adkins said they “still have a few” sites available for those who want to spend the weekend on site. Camping costs are $22 per day. You can reserve one of those sites by calling Adkins at (606)316-6353, Joyce Justice at (606)315-0384, or Tammy Barker at (859)221-2831.
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