Ernie & Debi Evans salvage Yeehaw Junction

Yeehaw Junction Bluegrass FestivalThe bluegrass festival saviors have another notch in their belt.

Ernie and Debi Evans have announced that a deal has been struck to hold the popular Yeehaw Junction festival in a new location. The Evans’s had contracted last year with the festival’s long time operator, Beverly Zicheck, and were making plans to continue the 30 year tradition at her property.

But since Zicheck’s death earlier this year, the property has been tied up in estate disputes and attorneys had signaled that any use of the property was impossible.

Ernie reported yesterday in a missive to ticket holders that a new home for the festival has been found, and the January 2016 event will go on as scheduled, now hosted at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Fairgrounds in Okeechobee, FL.

Here’s his letter…

Ernie-Evans“Before we update you on the 2016 Bluegrass Festival at Yeehaw Junction, Debi and I want to let you know how much we appreciate all of the support. We are very motivated at the interest the bluegrass community has shown in continuing the tradition of bluegrass at Yeehaw. When the announcement was made of it going away in 2015 we were saddened to hear it. Shortly after that, we were hired by the property owner, Beverly Zicheck, to come in and continue its almost 30 year legacy. We accepted and went to work lining things up. We quickly became friends with Beverly and made several trips to visit her, and put in many hours cultivating the market to do all we could to keep Yeehaw alive.

Mid way through the year we received sad news that cancer had once again reared its nasty head and would soon take our new friend. Her death from pancreatic cancer was untimely and it really hurt to see her going through such a painful process. We spent many nights talking about beating cancer and doing all we could to stay positive. Unfortunately, she lost her battle in August. I want everyone to know that it was her wish to continue the festival. She even wanted to have the pasture transformed into an RV Park.

It’s unknown if she ever got her vision completed with her attorney in time to be put in the will. The estate’s attorney told me that Beverly’s estate is tied up and many attorneys are involved, describing it as a mess. He then went on to say it could be years before things are resolved and until they are, he would not permit any liability on the property.

Since Beverly’s passing we have been trying to find a solution, including relocation. We have visited four other facilities which could not meet our needs. Contrary to rumors of the cancellation, we never gave up! We always felt responsible, and still are responsible to our customers, whom we have developed trust with, to contact them all individually to explain what was going on and not notify them through social media, which would have been careless and unprofessional. We owe them more than that. It was only a few weeks ago that we had decided to give everyone their money back because we felt we were out of time for a solution. This has been a tedious process, but necessary to keep the trust that we value so deeply. We are proud to announce that the City of Okeechobee has embraced us and provided our new home. This is very exciting and we can’t wait to fire up the sound system to kick off another season of YeeHaw Junction.”

Evans says that the new facilities include a large, covered pavilion, two lakes, plenty of parking, all within a few miles of a hotel, Wal-Mart and eateries.

Set to appear in January are Nothin’ Fancy, Gary Waldrep, Penny Creek Band, Blue Cypress Bluegrass, Jan Ladd, Swinging Bridge, Highway 41 South, and Greg Bird with Jo Odom as MC.

Tickets are more details are available online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.