Music fans will get a taste of a variety of music genres on May 14 at the Elkin Valley Fiddlers host the Elkin Roots Music Festival.
This is the fourth annual free event planned by Elkin Valley Fiddlers, an associate member of Foothills Arts Council. Well-known bluegrass, old-time, blues and gospel artists from across North Carolina perform on the outdoor stage at Elkin Municipal Park from 1 to 8:30 p.m. In case of rain, the event will move indoors to the gymnasium at the park.
This family-friendly event offers plenty of space for lawn chairs and blankets. There is a children’s playground within the park. Vendors offering a variety of food and beverages will be on site. Beer and wine will also be sold for the first time in the event’s history through Brushy Mountain Winery, Carolina Heritage, and Skull Camp Brewery. Parking is available on site for a modest fee.
The planning team will also be selling $5 raffle tickets for a chance to win a Big Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar and portable gig bag which will be awarded a the end of the day. Tickets may be purchased at the Foothills Arts Council in Elkin and the Jackson’s Music Store in Winston-Salem.
“This is the festival’s biggest year yet and the planners and committee have done a very impressive job,” said event coordinator Judy Buckner. “They’re all very active citizens here in town and their love for roots music brought them together to work hard on this event. The purpose is to provide a free event for the public, bring attention to our region, its natural areas, the Yadkin Valley wineries and breweries, and promote the rich cultural history of local music.”
Group founder Barry Carlton said, “Elkin’s music festival has grown each year, and we are pleased to present a greater variety of roots music than ever before. Rarely can such talent be experienced for free. This year we have assistance from Paul Brown, a well-known roots musician and former world newscast anchor with NPR. Paul will be our onstage host, performing and introducing an impressive lineup of musicians.”
• Presley Barker — 11-year-old Presley Barker from Traphill is an astonishingly gifted flat picker. He has been playing acoustic guitar for four years and also has picked up fiddle tunes and bluegrass. He won first place in the prestigious Adult Guitar Competition at the 80th annual Galax Old Fiddlers’s Convention in 2015.
• Jeff Little Trio — Jeff Little plays a distinctive two-handed style piano, which is much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, old-time country, fiddles tunes, and traditional blues. His trio includes Steve Lewis from Todd, playing guitar, and Josh Scott from Fleetwood, playing bass.
• Lightnin’ Wells — Wells brings the Carolina Piedmont style of acoustic blues and vintage tunes from the Roaring ’20s and the Great Depression to the stage. He plays many instruments including guitar, harmonica, banjo, and ukulele. Wells also will be playing at the Brushy Mountain Winery on May 13.
• Joe Thrift — A well-known local fiddler, Thrift brings old-time music with his fellow musicians in the old-time string band style. Thrift also teaches fiddle making at Surry Community College.
• Paul Brown, Laurelyn Dossett, Terri McMurray and Joe Newberry — All residents of North Carolina, these dynamic musicians and songwriters are coming together to present an exciting mix of traditional old-time music, bluegrass, and original songs with fiddle, banjo, banjo uke, guitar, and bass. The performers include Paul Brown, a prize-winning banjoist and fiddler widely respected for his commitment to preserving the old styles; Terri McMurray, winner of the Galax Fiddlers Convention old-time banjo contest in 1982; Laurelyn Dossett, singer and songwriter who fuses traditional sounds with contemporary sensibilities and themes; and Joe Newberry, known for his powerful and innovative banjo playing, songwriting, guitar, fiddling, and singing.
• Big Ron Hunter — A native of Winston-Salem, Hunter is one of the Piedmont’s most inspiring and uplifting blues and R&B performers. Known for his energetic, virtuosic and good-humored performances, Hunter’s life as a songwriter and performer in blues, pop and R&B had developed a big regional following.
• United Praise from Piney Grove UMC & Wesley Chapel UMC — Made up of members from both Wesley Chapel UMC in Elkin and Piney Grove EMC in Ronda, United Praise sings everything from traditional hymns, to spirituals, to contemporary selections with spirit, passion, and exuberance.
Elkin Valley Fiddlers provides a first-class traditional music festival with grant support from the Winston-Salem Foundation and the support of the town of Elkin, the town of Jonesville, its business and nonprofit communities, individual donors, and musicians.
Elkin Valley Fiddlers seeks volunteers to help raise funds, distribute flyers, and assist at the festival. To volunteer, contact Judy Buckner, festival coordinator, at email@example.com.
Troy Brooks may be reached at 336-258-4058.