For many years, Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® organizers have dreamed about having superstar, Ricky Skaggs, as the headliner at the annual Shenandoah Ford Bluegrass Festival. For a wide variety of reasons, mainly complex scheduling difficulties, organizers have simply not been able to make this happen in the past; but, for 2015, new Festival President, Jim Douglas, is pleased to announce that it is official: country and bluegrass singer, musician, producer and composer, Ricky Skaggs, will travel to Winchester, Virginia, to bring the 2015 Festival to a foot-stomping close! Just how good is Ricky Skaggs? These numbers simply don’t lie: 14 Grammy Awards [1983-2009]; 8 CMA Awards [1982-1991]; 12 IMBA Awards [1998-2008]; 8 TNN/Music City Awards [1982-1996]; and, many more, including Billboard Magazine’s “Artist of the Year.”
Skaggs was born in Cordell, Kentucky. He started playing music at age 5 after he was given a mandolin by his father, Hobert. At age 6, he played mandolin and sang on stage with the legendary Bill Monroe. At age 7, he appeared on Martha White’s country music variety show, playing with the equally legendary Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. He wanted to audition for the Grand Ole Opry at that time, but was told he was too young. In his mid-teens, Skaggs met a fellow teen guitarist, Keith Whitley, and the two started playing together on radio shows. By 1970, they had earned a spot opening for the, again, equally legendary, Ralph Stanley; and Skaggs and Keith Whitley were thereafter invited to join Stanley’s band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. Skaggs later joined The Country Gentlemen in Washington, DC, and J. D. Crowe’s New South. For a few years, Skaggs was a member of the once more, equally legendary, Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band. He wrote the arrangements for Harris’s 1980 bluegrass-roots album, “Roses in the Snow.” In addition to arranging for Harris, Skaggs sang harmony and played mandolin and fiddle in the Hot Band. In the 1990s and 2000s, Skaggs went back to his bluegrass roots, and also experimented with new sounds. With his band, Kentucky Thunder, he is a perennial winner of Grammy Awards and International Bluegrass Music Association awards for best bluegrass album. In his personal life, Skaggs has been married to Sharon White of The Whites since August 1981.
The Shenandoah Ford Bluegrass Festival annually closes out the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®’s crowded ten-day schedule; and, it will be held this year on Sunday, May 3rd, 2015, at the Festival’s event center: the Sprint Tent, on the grounds of the Winchester Medical Center, at 1775 North Sector Court. As should be obvious to all, a superstar like Ricky Skaggs works in a different price range than most bluegrass acts; and, the Festival has had to adjust its ticketing accordingly. Please note these changes for 2015:
- For the first time ever, all seating will be reserved, not general admission. All seats will be numbered and tickets will correspond to numbered seats.
- The first increase in the base price of the event in at least six years raises that price from $25 to $30.
- For the first time, the Shenandoah Ford Bluegrass Festival is going to offer “tiered seating.” At the front will be an “A” Section of $50 seats. Behind that will be a “B” Section of $40 seats. Behind that will be a “C” Section of the regular $30 seats.
- Orders may be placed at this time at Apple Blossom Headquarters at 135 North Cameron Street and 540-662-3863. Orders will be filled in the spring in the order in which they were taken.