Brown Loflin, of Denton FarmPark, passes

Brown Loflin with his wife Ruby at the 2019 Denton festival – photo by Sandy Hatley

The bluegrass community lost a friend and promoter on Tuesday. Brown Loflin, owner of the central NC based Denton FarmPark and home to Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver’s Annual Bluegrass Festival, passed away at age 84.

Lawson shared, “It ‘s a sad day for me and countless others. Brown Loflin, owner of the Denton FarmPark, has gone on to his reward. He was a hard working man with a drive and need to always be and do the very best in everything he was called to do. I had no idea 39 years ago when I hosted the first festival there that it would continue this long, and I’m gonna miss seeing Brown either in his truck or on a golf cart cruising and making sure things were as they should be. He fought a good fight and he’s at rest now. My prayers and heartfelt condolences to the family.”

Loflin first began with the Southeast Old Threshers’ Reunion in his park, featuring antique tractors, steam engines, and musical entertainment. Then in 1980, Loflin and Lawson, along with Milton Harkey, started the annual family style bluegrass festival. Originally held the second weekend in July (following the Threshers’ Reunion), the festival was moved to Mother’s Day weekend to avoid the heat of summer, and there it has remained. The event will celebrate four decades in 2020.

Steve Dilling, banjoist, first attended Loflin’s festival as a teenage spectator, then became a performer on his shows, playing on stage with IIIrd Tyme Out and then with his current band, Sideline. “I think Brown will be remembered for his generosity. He was a great host. He always went to his guests’ campsites and made sure they didn’t need anything.”

Jeff Branch, bluegrass music promoter (Big Lick Bluegrass Festival and Bluegrass in Troy) and emcee, expressed praise and gratitude. “Brown Loflin gave me an opportunity of a lifetime to become one of his emcees at all of his events. Brown cared about everyone who came to his park and he treated them like family. I remember when I wanted to start my own bluegrass festival, before I did anything, I drove to Denton and met with Brown to get advice. This man was a wealth of knowledge and encouragement to me. I am extremely blessed and fortunate to have crossed paths with Brown and his entire family.”

Loflin had been in failing health. His children, Karen and Keith and their families along with his wife of 60 years, Ruby, have been managing the events which include a Christmas train on the FarmPark in recent years. However, Brown Loflin was still a fixture in his park, riding his scooter or golf cart and keeping watch over the activities.

Karen Miller, his daughter, reflected, “Brown Loflin was a titan of North Carolina. From keeping commerce and people moving in our state as Highway Commissioner, and then his further leadership as County Commissioner, to his tireless service in building community through the Denton Farm Park, he has created a powerful legacy for us to continue. His was a life well-lived beyond all potential, guided by his love of God, family, country, and community.”

Services for Mr. Loflin will be conducted in his beloved FarmPark, 1072 Cranford Road, Denton, NC. Visitation will be held on Sunday, 2:00-5:30 p.m. in the craft barn (4255 Handy Road), and the funeral will be on Monday at 3:00 pm in the FarmPark Music Hall. Music will be provided by Doyle Lawson.

In Lieu of Flowers:

Parkinson Association of the Carolinas
2101 Sardis Road North, Suite 102, Box 15
Charlotte, NC 28227

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma Research Foundation
Wall Street Plaza
88 Pine Street, Suite 2400
New York, NY 10005

American Children’s Home
PO Box 1288
Lexington, NC 27293

Denton Lions Club
PO Box 277
Denton, NC 27239

Share this:

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.