Donald Brady passes

Donald Brady – photos by Katie Danielle Photography

For almost 15 years, Donald Brady opened up his grandfather’s farm in Coleridge in central North Carolina on the last Saturday of the month for food, fellowship, and bluegrass music. On Sunday, August 28, he passed away at the age of 76.

From 2005 through 2019 (with a hiatus in 2016 due to health reasons), Brady and his wife, Evon, hosted the monthly music event on their rural property. The site of the music festival was where Donald’s grandpa’s house stood.

“It got termites real bad and we had to tear it down. The place looked naked,” Donald once explained.

So he constructed a new building with the aid of neighbors. A music lover, he devised a plan to host monthly musical entertainment. He extended the porch, removed its center posts, added florescent lighting, carpeted the floor, and converted it into a stage. Donald praised others for their help, particularly local musicians, Vernon Allred and his son, Derrick.

“I just thought it was something good to do. I enjoy music,” Brady often shared.

He contacted local bands and musicians to entertain. The Allreds provided and monitored a sound system and also performed. 

Prior to each show, the Bradys offered a meal. Under a nearby shed, the couple would serve hot dogs and fried bologna while attendees would bring various covered dishes. After the meal, the pickers would take to the porch to play as the listeners gathered under trees in their lawn chairs. Donald would happily survey the evening from his golf cart. There was never an admission fee, just a 50/50 drawing to help cover expenses.

Former Nashville banjoist, Stan Brown, is grateful for his labors. “Donald opened his place up once a month for musicians, friends, and neighbors to gather, to share a meal, and to pick together. (It was) a wonderful social gathering everyone looked forward to each month.”

Danny Bowers, another well-known North Carolina banjo picker, stated, “Don was so good to all the folks involved with the music at Coleridge, players and spectators alike. Good folks, good food, good music, good fellowship, it doesn’t get any better. He will be missed.”

His funeral will be held on Wednesday, August 31, at 3:00 p.m. in the Loflin Funeral Home Chapel.

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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.