A hurricane, hard work, and The Queen – Palatka 2022 a week late

The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys at the November 2022 Palatka Bluegrass Festival

The November 2022 Palatka Bluegrass Festival was postponed a week owing to the arrival of Hurricane Nicole earlier this month. Fortunately, all the artists were able to make it on the new dates, and the folks at Evans Media Source sent along this report with photos and videos.

The legendary fall Palatka Bluegrass Festival, founded by promoter Norman Adams, usually falls on the second weekend in November in its namesake town tucked into northeast Florida. Each year it touts a massive lineup of top acts and a pavilion filled to the brim with bluegrass fans so long that they need secondary screens and projectors for the folks hallway back to see the stage. Evans Media Source has taken the helm for the last few years and even through COVID Debi and Ernie Evans, and their team have kept the event growing and setting the bar even higher. 

The festival itself is a massive fundraiser for the Rodeheaver Boys Ranch whose mission is to assist at risk young men gain the skills to be successful gentlemen. The ranch banks on this festival, along with the Evans Media Source festival held on the site in February, to fund their operation each year. 

Tuesday on the week of the festival the lineup was set, the golf carts delivered, food ordered, and fans were already pulling into the massive 800 acre ranch when word came of Hurricane Nicole bring down on the east coast of Florida. 

No strangers to adversity, Ernie Evans and his team faced a hard decision: Cancel the festival and let the ranch suffer for the whole year, or find another way to make it happen. The ranch would not only lose the fundraiser money, but also all the expenses they already paid for in anticipation for the week, setting them back even further and limiting their ability to help the young men who depend on the ranch for survival. 

Ranch Director Brad Hall and Ernie Evans got together and decided: We can make this work, if we have The Queen in our corner….Rhonda Vincent, that is. 

Rhonda’s fans will travel through wind, snow, rain, and even a hurricane to get a chance to catch her show live. That is a testament to her professionalism, skill, and her hard work on social media as well over the decades she has pioneered her own path in the music. 

Rhonda, a pro’s pro, immediately jumped at the chance to help the ranch, and changed her entire schedule around to make sure she could be there if Ernie moved the festival to the following weekend. So now the hard work truly began!

EMS has less than seven days to build an entire new festival from the ground up, promote the show, and help get the staff squared away to make sure the high standards of the Palatka Bluegrass Festival were upheld. 

Ernie said that postponement preparations were a whirlwind.

“Debi and I went over 48 hours without sleep a few times this week, just to make sure we did everything in our power to make this work for the ranch. So many people pitched in during the week to even make this feasible, including many bands who agreed to scramble their plans to help the ranch.”

Headlined by the Queen herself, The Malpass Brothers, Lonesome River Band, Larry Stephenson, Don Rigsby, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, and many more descended on Palatka, FL and performed in 40 degree weather to make sure the Fall Palatka Bluegrass Festival lived up to its reputation. While the hurricane, cold temps, and other state events kept the audience from reaching its normal massive numbers, hardcore bluegrass fans came out in droves to support the ranch, Evans Media Source, and their favorite acts. 

The seven-day turnaround by EMS shows the hard work and dedication that has helped build the company into the nation’s largest promoter of bluegrass events. 

Next week the EMS team is taking the helm of the historic Sertoma Thanksgiving Festival in Brooksville, FL. 

Find out more about the many festivals hosted by Evans Media Sources online.