We’ve written often about Ernie and Debi Evans who, through their company, Evans Media Source, help manage more than a dozen bluegrass festivals and concert series in Florida. Through their many contacts with venues in the state that promote and support bluegrass, they have a unique ability to stay connected with grassers in the Sunshine State.
Surely our readers worldwide know by now that an historic hurricane, Irma, is bearing down on the Caribbean islands and the Florida peninsula. Landfall within the US isn’t expected until early next week, but folks throughout the southeastern states and the eastern seaboard are following the storm’s track with close interest.
Ernie has had the brilliant idea to publish a running report on conditions in Florida, with a special focus on venues that matter to bluegrass fans, and the cities where their various events are held. He will be sharing these with us over the course of the next week or so, and we will try to publish them each day for as long as he has cell and/or internet service and the ability to stay in touch.
Plans are for the Evanses to share details about the situation as the storm hits, and its aftermath, including information about bluegrass folks who need assistance, the condition of the venues where shows and jams are held, and when these will be able to resume following the storm’s passing.
Their concert scheduled with Billy Dean for this Friday, September 8, has already been moved from the Thomas Center in Gainesville to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park as a result of expected heavy traffic, and the lack of vacancies in area motels. There is also a fear that the city will shut down many facilities in advance of the storm.
Ernie says he has always been inspired by the kindness and helpful spirit among bluegrass folks, and wants to share this information in that spirit.
“I think we can help folks and show them how good bluegrass people are. Bluegrass people have always been there for each other, whether it is offering a meal, helping someone learn to play or sing, or holding the door for someone in a wheelchair or walker. I attended my first festival at age 12 and recall people treating me like a member of their family. 45 years later, it still feels the same.”
He shot this initial video earlier today as a sort of “calm before the storm” report. Be sure to click the audio on.
And they have just added this video from Justin Mason with the South Florida Bluegrass Association to the EMS on Hurricane Irma Facebook page.
Keep an eye on their Facebook page and here at Bluegrass Today as updates come in. Let’s hope that the damage is less severe that feared at this time.