There was a time when the Shenandoah Apple Blossom’s Festival®’s Bluegrass Festival was an annual sellout. But, musical tastes change so rapidly nowadays. Bluegrass genres have split and split again; and, as they have, their fan bases have split and split again; and, the Festival has struggled to keep interest up in a classic, old-line Bluegrass event. Festival Organizers have also recognized that much of the Country Music featured at Festival events is modern Country Music; which, much like modern Bluegrass, can be very similar to mainstream pop/rock, rather than producing the easy, down-home feel of 1950s/1960s Grand Ole Opry.
One of Festival President Barry Carper’s prime initiatives in 2019 was to put the “classic” back into the Festival’s Classic Country, while keeping the Festival’s traditional Bluegrass Festival “traditional.” In an effort to stay “classic;” and, in an effort to keep a happy, healthy, old-school event viable on the Festival’s final Sunday afternoon, in 2019, Festival Organizers are offering the Donegal Insurance Group Bluegrass Festival and Classic Country Concert. This event will still occupy its familiar date, time and location: Sunday, May 5th, 10:00am, in the Tolley Dental Entertainment Zone, at the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center at Shenandoah University. The anticipated schedule features three different traditional Bluegrass groups performing from late morning into early afternoon. Then, at 3:00pm, the super-talented Robbie Limon will offer his two-hour stage tribute to the classic country of Hank Williams, Sr., and local legend, Patsy Cline.
The anticipated schedule for Sunday, May 5th, in the Tolley Dental Entertainment Zone is as follows:
10:00am – First Set by Josh Grigsby and County Line
11:00am – First Set by Nothin’ Fancy
12:00pm – Only Set by Remington Ryde
01:00pm – Second Set by Josh Grigsby and County Line
02:00pm – Second Set by Nothin’ Fancy
03:00pm – Robbie Limon’s “Lovesick Blues” – 1stSegment: Tracey Wygal as Winchester’s own Patsy Cline
04:00pm – Robbie Limon’s “Lovesick Blues” – 2ndSegment: Robbie Limon as the immortal Hank Williams, Sr.
Josh Grigsby and County Line are old Festival favorites; and, in 2018, Nothin’ Fancy stole the show at the 2018 Bluegrass Festival. Remington Ryde describes itself as “hard-drivin’, traditional Bluegrass;” and, the Festival found them through the same management as Nothin’ Fancy. Promotional material for “Lovesick Blues” describes it this way: “Lovesick Blues” brings together, at last, two legends of country music: Hank Williams, Sr., and Patsy Cline. This unique tribute show is an unforgettable afternoon of music and memories. The incomparable Robbie Limon commands the stage portraying Hank Williams, Sr., and his guest, Tracey Wygal, skillfully depicts Patsy Cline. Sharing the stage with a world-class band, these acclaimed musicians perform some of the greatest hits of both country music icons and then combine in a made-in-Heaven duet.”
Tickets for the event are $30.00 for General Admission and $35.00 for Reserved Seating. They may be purchased at ABHQ at 135 North Cameron Street [540-662-3863]; or, online; or, starting Friday, April 5th, at the Festival’s Souvenir Store and Ticket Outlet at a location to be announced soon.