2023 Willow Oak Bluegrass Festival begins

Located in north central North Carolina, Willow Oak Bluegrass Festival in Roxboro is underway for its annual Father’s Day weekend music event. Promoter, Mike Wilson, and host band, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, have worked hard to provide topnotch talent in a beautiful family-friendly setting.

Thursday’s line-up included Starlett & Big John, Dewey & Leslie Brown, the Kevin Prater Band, and the Grascals.

Dewey Brown didn’t have to travel far to perform. “I get to see a lot of friends and people that I know. This is a wonderful place. Mike and Lorraine put on an absolute great festival. You can hardly walk around without stopping and talking to someone you know. That’s the best thing about a bluegrass festival.”

The day was extra special for two members of the Grascals: Jamey Johnson and Terry Smith. They both celebrated birthdays, number 51 and 63, respectively.

Smith, who grew up in neighboring Caswell County, shared Brown’s sentiment. “It’s really great to be playing so close to home. This is one of the best parks in America.”

Friday’s line-up features the Lonesome River Band, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, Alan Bibey & Grasstowne, Deeper Shade of Blue, and host band, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road.

Saturday’s show offers Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Little Roy & Lizzy, the Gospel Plowboys, and Jordan’s band.

The Lady of Tradition stressed, “My band, Carolina Road, is very excited to be the host band. The promoter, Mike Wilson, and I have been long-time bluegrass friends since the 1970s. Mike has been involved in promoting festivals for over 40 years and knows how to run a family-style event. Fans have said that Willow Oak Park is the most beautiful park setting for a bluegrass festival. This festival is a throw-back from the time that festivals were friendly gatherings with plenty of social time and jamming. We will have workshops, storytelling, and a jamming tent set up during the day. Both national and local bands will be part of our stage show. I’m excited to be part of a great family-style festival which is destined to be the outdoor social event of the year. Come join us. It’s only 45 minutes north of Raleigh.”

Willow Oak Park is located at 895 Blalock Dairy Road, Roxboro, NC. For more information, contact mike@WillowOakPrk.com.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.