The lineup for this inaugural festival featured performances from:
If You Build It…
I must say, it was great to see the launching of this festival under the management of Mike & Debbie Wilson (pictured left). Mike was a founding member of the Bass Mountain Boys and performed with them for 18+ years. The Bass Mountain Boys basically took over the former Camp Springs North Carolina Bluegrass Festivals hosted by Carlton Haney for many years and promoted by Fred Bartenstein who also edited the Muleskinner News magazine. Mike’s involvement with that event evolved into the Bass Mountain Festival, which Mike continued to host and promote long after the Bass Mountain Boys retired.
When the opportunity to purchase the 60 acres for the location of the Willow Oak Park came along Mike jumped at the chance. This April marks the first of what promises to be an annual event with the potential to grow into two festivals per year. Mike has built a new stage, moved dirt and re-landscaped the park, and has plans for other improvements including new showers, a band hospitality building, more space for vendors, and more hook-ups for campers. He was worked with the commerce and tourism officials in Person County and the town of Roxboro to ensure acceptance of the venue, answer questions and concerns of local residents, and get all the inspection and zoning permits approved. Lots of work by Mike and Debbie, family members, relatives and volunteers have gotten the festival off to a great start with many advance ticket sales that indicate strong support from loyal fans of the former Bass Mountain Festival.
Mike intends to restore the story telling ritual that took place on the porch of the museum at Bass Mountain during supper break when band members interacted with questions from the audience and told stories of being on the bluegrass road. Bluegrass history and trivia won’t be lost if Mike & Debbie have anything to say on that!
Mike took the stage at 2 p.m. Thursday to welcome the attendees, introduce officials from Person County and Roxboro and then officially kick-off the festival with the National Anthem and flags flying! What a great way to set the tone and spirit of this festival.
Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain (pictured right) was the first band and Melvin drew the crowd out of their campers and down to the stage area with his authentic traditional bluegrass style and his wonderful stories of the early days of bluegrass. What a great opportunity to see one of the three remaining members of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers. Grasstowne followed Melvin and NewFound Road was up after that. James King took the music up to the supper break when the cycle was repeated for the evening performances.