Saturday, June 14, 1997...Blue Ridge, Georgia. Sugar Creek Festival. The day started out with heavy rain and I was not sure just exactly how the day was going to evolve as I carefully made my way up I-575 toward the north Georgia mountains. The clouds were embracing the tops of the green, craigy landscape, but from time to time the sun would peek through.
By the time I arrived at the park for the festival, big fluffy white clouds had taken over and the sun was out with full force. Sugar Creek park had changed a bit in the ten years since I last visited...nice touches for more comfort, but still the great atmosphere for bluegrass music. Gene and Vida Cox have gone to great lengths to make sure visitors are comfortable in this beautiful mountain setting.
Over the next few hours, I listened to some great music, visited with old and new friends, dodged sudden downpours, and in general, experienced what has drawn me into this musical world. I hope you enjoy this short tour of a wonderful Saturday in June.
No, the Gillis Brothers were not on the show, but what a great lineup with many talented musicians doing "double duty!" (Can you find the pic with three of today's most talented banjo players on the stage at the same time?? hint: probably only a banjo player will know this...or care! <g>)
Sugar Creek Park. A beautiful setting in the north Georgia mountains near Blue Ridge, GA.
When you enter the comfortable surroundings, you will see and hear groups like Curtis Blackwell and the Dixie Bluegrass Boys.
While outside you may run into Ron Arrington of the SouthEastern Bluegrass Association (SEBA) and Jim Crunkleton of Jackson's Music Store of Riverdale, GA. This music truck is loaded down like an ol' time peddler...lots of musical supplies as well as instruments.
"Hats off" for a good old gospel number from Steve Pennington and his fine group.
Gene Cox (seated) provides some great north Georgia fiddling while being accompanied by bluegrass group High Dial.
The Cross Country Grass provided two well-received programs on Saturday. They even got a standing ovation!
Rob Mashburn entertains the crowd with one of his smooth ballads. Here he is accompanied by the Powell Brothers (Wade Jr. - banjo and Nicky - mandolin) and L.B. Solsby and an UUBP (unidentified upright bass player). Who is this guy...also filled in with Jimmy Martin.
Curtis Blackwell and the Dixie Bluegrass Boys have been performing for over thirty years. Included in the present organization are Randall Collins - fiddle, Al Osteen - banjo, Andy Holbrook - mandolin, Sam Cobb - bass, Curtis Blackwell - guitar, Shane Blackwell - guitar
Headliner for the festival - Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys. With Jimmy are David Nance - resophonic guitar, Dana Cupp - mandolin, Larry Wallace - banjo. Some of you may recognize the bass player who sat in on this set??
Mr. & Mrs J. Hatfield - Manchester, TN...at most any north GA festival...
Mr. 'Buck' takes a bit of a break... look for his fancy footwork at a festival near you!
Pick that 'banjer'...
Steve Maner of 'The Fiddle Shop' discusses his many fiddles and banjos.
And one last word...
Need I say anything further...the "king and his court."
I departed around 10:30 in the evening for my trip back to Marietta. By now the half-moon was pushing away all the storm clouds. The stars were sparkling as you will only see in the hills far away from city lights and as I drove back toward Atlanta, I reminisced about past adventures up and down these storied mountains.
I look forward to many more to come...
Copyright © 2008 Bill Brown. All rights reserved.