Armuchee Bluegrass Festival - Labor Day Weekend 2002

Chuck Langley

Kricket Langley

Evelyn Farley

Mack Farley

[Read about the history of the Armuchee Bluegrass Festival.]

Armuchee - Labor Day Weekend 2002. The Thirtieth Anniversary! The weather cooperated after a rainy beginning to produce a wonderful day of music on Saturday. Sounds just like last year. I arrived shortly after 8 p.m. on Friday evening to find the festival already well into the evening program. There had been a hard downpour of rain (sound familiar?) late in the afternoon and the weather had cleared to a cool, late summer Georgia evening! Campers were getting in place and jam sessions were already started.

After visiting a bit with the Farleys and Langleys, I headed to the stage area to hear a bit of music and then to the campgrounds to catch up with my many friends in the jamming areas. As would be expected, I was able to hear some great music and learn about the latest adventures - and there were plenty! And, of course, I just can't be around pickers such as Ron Norman and Greg Brown without talking banjos...

Saturday was a day with high temperatures only in the eighties! Unheard of for a Labor Day festival at Armuchee, but t'was great! I returned to the festival early in the morning and immediately ran into Mr. Carl Queen - Atlanta Country Music Hall of Famer and of Atteiram Records. It was great to see him and get to hear about some of the recordings he has done with many of the legends in bluegrass. He is truly an encyclopedia of bluegrass music.

Then, as I was moving through the organizers/promoters area I ran into Mr. Mack and he was showing a couple of his prize surely need to hear of the history behind those! As I moved on into the camping area, I ran into a strange site...I will let the photo explain for itself far better than words...a great group of Armuchee stalwarts! Pat, Dale, Larry, Billy...always a pleasure to see and hear from you!

On Saturday afternoon and evening, I especially enjoyed taking in several stage shows. My apologies for the bands I did not get to listen to...

Passtime Band
Next Band
Rocky Top Band
Weeks Family
Peaches and Fuzz
Curtis Hicks and Friends
Outpost Band
Georgia Bound
Broad River
Rained Out
Ramblin' Grass

It was especially good to see Kent and Georgia Olson playing with Passtime Bluegrass and to get to socialize a bit. And promoters were all present...Mr. and Ms. Rakestraw of Raccoon Creek (sorry, they got away before I was able to get a photo...Jack and Jan Masters who will be promoting Marietta...Harold Cowart of Southern Breeze...not only a good promoter, but a fine banjo player as well. I always enjoy getting to talk banjos with him...and Beth Shuler (Rocky Top Music Park) was enjoying the stage show of the Rocky Top Band - with hubby and band member Alvin. Jimmy hat is off to all these people who make sure we have a place to enjoy our music!

As always, it was good to see good friends such as Mindy Rakestraw - she has to start playing the resophonic guitar on stage, fiddler Jerry Burke, the Georgia Bound band - though Murray was not available due to other obligations, Lee and Wanda Taylor - some great old time music - and Lee plays clawhammer banjo just the way I like...Tom and Aina and Jim Lassiter, Ed Wade...and the Baxters. The Bluegrass Five with Jeremy, Katy, and Wesley are outstanding...also heard a group of young pickers (Jeremy Moses - banjo, Jason Bachus - mandolin, Jacob Durham - guitar, Matthew Nunnelley - bass) called 'Rained Out' will be hearing more from them! [Thanks to Kent Olson for the great shot of 'Rained Out'. Editor] And there are so many good young pickers and singers in the music now! Bluegrass music is in good hands!

I must say that it was really nice to see Mr. Curtis Burch, Sr. and Ms. Burch...they live close here in KY but the only time I see them is at Armuchee...Maybe Ricky and Curtis, Jr. can make it down next time!

And my thanks especially go to the Langleys and Farleys...they always welcome me with open arms (and even 'squirreled away' some bananna pudding for me)!

Armuchee is indeed a special place and festival...made moreso by all the great folks involved - from promoters to musicians to fans. I hope to see this go on for another thirty years!

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