October 6: Lunsford Festival at Mars Hill
Posted on 9.13.12
Photos by LUNSFORD FESTIVAL
On Saturday, October 6, the all-day Lunsford festival celebrates regional music and dance free for the public at the Mars Hill College campus, just 20 minutes north of Asheville. As the second oldest folk festival in Western North Carolina, the Lunsford Festival bridges traditional styles from throughout the years with the contemporary adaptations that continue to influence them. This year’s theme of “Look to the past,/ Looking to the future” spotlights newcomers to the mountain music tradition as well as members of the older generation who share this cultural heritage with them.
Forty-five years ago, Bascom Lamar Lunsford co-founded this event, which today is named after this “Minstrel of the Appalachians.” Lunsford was a musician and folklorist who dedicated his life to collecting and promoting the music of the Southern Appalachians. He also founded the Shindig on the Green in 1966 and its parent event, the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in 1928.
The newly-renovated Rural Life Museum Building at Mars Hill’s upper quad will be available during the day for activities like a silent auction, ballad and story swap hosted by Joe Penland, and several workshops in ballad singing, clogging, guitar, fiddling, and banjo. The silent auction will have local art work, gift certificates to local restaurants, lodging at local inns, and more. Proceeds will go directly toward festival support.
Daytime music begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m. Some artists include The Butterpats, Whitewater Bluegrass Company, and the Cockman Brothers. This event is sponsored by Mars Hill College and the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies.
Located in the Moore auditorium, the evening concert features ballad singers, dancers, and string bands. The headlining performance is a reunion of the Midnight Plowboys, an ’80s and ’90s bluegrass and roots music band from Asheville. Primarily playing an arrangement of bluegrass and fiddle tunes, the band also incorporated Cajun, honky-tonk, waltz, Texas swing, and rock and roll into their sound. In the 1980s, they released two albums through Skyline Records. Three of the original band members (Brian Hunter, Ed Partridge, Bucky Hanks) will play alongside Paul Crouch, a master fiddler and recipient of the 2011 Lunsford Award, Laura Boosinger, recipient of that award in 2008, and musician Mark Davis.
The daytime festival is free admission; tickets for the evening concert are $10 for adults and $5 for children twelve and under. Hannah Furgiuele, festival director and program coordinator of the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies, invites you to join her “in honoring the rich, cultural traditions of the Southern Appalachians!”
For more information and workshop registration, visit online at lunsfordfestival.com or call Hannah directly at 828.689.1571