Missouri Valley, Iowa—The 29th annual Old Time Music Festival, to be held
at the Harrison County Fairgrounds, in Missouri Valley, Iowa, has attracted
no less than thirty eight bluegrass and family performance bands to this year's
event. This is a record of sorts among festivals of a similar nature, in
the entire United States.
According to festival director, Bob Everhart, "We've been working hard for the
past 29 years to make our festival one where families can gather without fear
of drunkeness, illicit drugs, foul and vulgar language, music so loud you
can't hear it, creating a safe haven, an oasis if you will, where acoustic music
can be heard in all it's many facets and styles. We're quite proud
of our record, the people that attend this event, and the performers
themselves. Thirty eight bluegrass bands and family performance groups is
a huge number of participants for any festival. Our's is a seven day
event however, so we can accomodate this huge number."
Performing on no less than twelve sound stages, the bands consist of:
- THE ANDERSON FAMILY This talented family group comes from Clinton, Iowa, and perform old-time traditional music and gospel music.
- BANJOS AND BLUE JEANS This group performs old-time twenties music, utilizing the four-string tenor banjo in it's act, a rare combination of talent and old-time music.
- BLUE PERSUASION This incredibly entertaining family act is from Hartselle, Alabama, playing a large variety of bluegrass and gospel music.
- BLUE WOLF This is a contemporary bluegrass band from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and their first time at America's largest old-time acoustic music festival.
- COUNTRY COUSINS from White, South Dakota, this group led by the popular Murl Patrick, also play for old-time barn dances, of which there will be one at the festival.
- COMMON GROUND is a great harmonizing gospel group from Indiana, who have been at the festival for a number of years.
- GRASSCATS is an all-girl bluegrass band from Wichita, Kansas. They have formed to present a different touch to bluegrass music.
- HICKORY WIND is a trio from near Bemidji, Minnesota, and utilize flat-picking, finger-picking, and harmony to present their great music.
- HIGH STRUNG BLUEGRASS BAND is from Sparta, Missouri, and play traditional and contemporary bluegrass music.
- DONNA HUGHES BLUEGRASS BAND is from Trinity, North Carolina. Donna is one of the 'national' emerging artists on the bluegrass scene.
- HANDPICKED BLUEGRASS BAND is from Cape Giardeau, Missouri, playing traditional bluegrass music with lots of harmony.
- THE HAMILTONS is a family group from Aberdeen, South Dakota, playing lots of old-time and traditional country and bluegrass music.
- HOWARD CATTLE COMPANY from Bayfield, Colorado, is a family group specializing in cowboy music and western gospel music.
- HUSKER DU FAMILJE from St. Mary's Kansas, is a family group that does great gospel harmonies, and plays some traditional Norwegian music too.
- JOHNSON FAMILY is an emerging family group from Humboldt, Iowa, that is doing well on the old-time acoustic music circuit.
- JETER'S RURAL ROUTE from Harlan, Iowa, is a combination family and other pickers group that is gaining incredible popularity in the mid-west.
- KENASTON FAMILY BAND from Weston, Nebraska, not only plays bluegrass and old-time country, they also play for the cowboy-country dance.
- LANCE LINK BLUEGRASS BAND from Lebanon, Missouri, is an emerging national bluegrass band at the festival for the first time.
- LILIES OF THE WEST is an all-girl cowboy-song band from Fullerton, California. This is their third time at the festival, and are a very popular performing group.
- LESTER'S CHOICE is a newly re-formed bluegrass band from Omaha, Nebraska, perhaps one of the most talented in picking and vocals on the local scene.
- MATNEY SISTERS from Des Moines, Iowa, is a family group that includes four sisters and their father performing a number of musical styles, specializing in gospel.
- MARTIN FAMILY is a close knit family bluegrass band from Versailles, Missouri, that present their special style of music. Regular performers at Silver Dollar City, Missouri.
- LOOSE GRAVEL is an acoustic group from Edwardsville, Kansas, formed by Gaylen Merritwether. This re-formed group performed in China in 2002.
- DAKOTA CLASSICS is an acoustic country group from Elk Point, South Dakota, under the leadership of Elaine Peacock.
- PAPIO CREEK from Omaha, Nebraska, is the longest-running bluegrass/western/-gospel group in our local area. Very popular performing group.
- PLAIN LABEL is a folky old-time country bluegrass trio from Lincoln, Nebraska, together for a very long time now, and a regular at the festival.
- PETER, PAUL, & MORRIE from Omaha, Nebraska, a funny comedic trio that specializes in old-time folk, country and some gospel music.
- PRAIRIE TRAILS BLUEGRASS BAND is from McCalsberg, Iowa, headed up by a retired banker, presenting some really good traditional bluegrass music.
- DOUG & JESS BLUEGRASS BAND from Winnipeg Canada, are showcasing their bluegrass and traditional country music for the first time this year.
- GEORGE KRALIK AND THE ROWDY RASCALS from Prague, Czech Republic is probably our finest and most talented bluegrass band this year.
- ROE FAMILY BAND from Loveland, Colorado, features an incredibly gifted acoustic guitar picker, 15-year old Brian.
- REDWING BLUEGRASS & GOSPEL BAND is a delightful traditional group from Ankeny, Iowa. Very popular on the local scene.
- ROGERS FAMILY from Concordia, Kansas, is a large family group that specializes in acoustic music and gospel music.
- RANCHEROS under the leadership of Bob Richter from Sioux City, Iowa, also play for the old-time western dance.
- ROUNDHOUSE BLUEGRASS BAND from Omaha, Nebraska, play traditional bluegrass and old-time Americana music all the way back to pre-civil war.
- ROSA STRING WORKS BLUEGRASS BAND from Newburg, Missouri, are a contemporary bluegrass band with high power music.
- SULLIVAN FAMILY BLUEGRASS BAND from St. Stephens, Alabama, feature young artists in both bluegrass and gospel music.
- UMY AND THE GOODTIMERS is a traditional country band from Collinsville, Oklahoma, featuring 95 year old lead singer. Incredibly popular.
With this kind of line-up, just in bluegrass bands and family performance groups,
it's easy to see why this is the largest old-time acoustic music event
in mid-America. According to Sheila Everhart, co-Director, "We try not
to discriminate against any performers. Because we have twelve stages
and seven days to present tradititional bluegrass/country/gospel music,
we always find a way to showcase an artist, no matter at what level
of performance they may be. Because of our open door policy, we have
performers at the very beginning level, to the highest professional top quality
and most excellent performers available in the business. Some festivals only
have a handful of top quality performers. Our festival has nothing but
the best, no matter what level they are at. We do not allow electric instruments
at our event, that only undermines and detracts from the great acoustic
music that is available in America today. We do not allow liquor
and alcohol or illicit drugs, that only undermines America. We welcome all
performers, old or young, new or experienced. We find a place for them."
The festival takes place from August 30 through September 5, at the Harrison
Country Fairgrounds in Missouri Valley, Iowa. Camping is permitted, there
is an aquatic center for children, a tipi village, an Ag Expo, arts and
crafts at seven locations, free food on Mon-Tue-Wed, over 600 individual performers, and
30 contests for beginners, amateurs and semi-professionals.
More information is available from Bob and Sheila Everhart
at 712-762-4363, or e-mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or writing them at P O Box 492, Anita, Ia, 50020.