Fincastle festival to be remembered at WOB

Fincastle-50Enthusiasts of bluegrass music history will have an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Fincastle multi-day bluegrass festival at a commemorative event at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, on Saturday, October 3.

Featured will be video clips from the original festival, recollections by those who were present, and recreations of songs and tunes played during the first “Bluegrass Story” by some of the top names in bluegrass music today and talented young artists who will take bluegrass music into the future.

The event is being co-ordinated by Jordan Laney, with help from Carly Smith, of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensboro, Kentucky, and Fred Bartenstein, go-to person on so many occasions and the only one of the three who has first-hand knowledge of the Fincastle bluegrass festival 1965.

Laney grew up in a family that loved bluegrass music and attended many festivals. She began early also, “I have been interested in early festivals since childhood”. From Marion, North Carolina, Laney developed an academic interest in the subject, “When my research became heavily focused on Carlton Haney I began to dig deeper into the history of the festival and ‘the story’ of bluegrass which has been so important to the genre. The Special Collections unit at Appalachian State University recently collected and have archived The Carlton and Charles Haney Collection.” Being able to work with them in the collecting process, she began to really see what an enormous impact Haney and Fincastle had on the bluegrass world and it coincidentally became her doctoral dissertation topic.

So, what will be happening during the commemorative event? “We want this time to be a celebration of the first Fincastle festival and all that it has paved the way for. At the event we will be re-creating ‘the story’ (as true to the 1965 performance as possible), sharing stories, archival footage, and some of the artifacts from the International Bluegrass Music Museum as well as Appalachian State’s collection.”

Laney, Smith and Bartenstein have worked very hard to reproduce the 1965 “story.” “We are honored to have a number of guests joining us including Sam Bush, Don Rigsby, Charlie Cushman, Becky Buller, Bryan McDowell, Audie Blaylock, the ETSU Pride Band with Daniel Boner, the Mountain Music Ambassadors from Morehead State University with Raymond McLain, the Denison University Bluegrass Ensemble with Andy Carlson, Mark Schatz and others to be confirmed.” They hope that IBMA attendees who were at Fincastle will also join in this celebration.

Sponsored by the International Bluegrass Music Museum, the event is free and open to the public. However, Laney encourages those who want to attend, “There is a 400 person capacity in the room, so I would suggest getting there early”.

The International Bluegrass Music Museum’s musical celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Fincastle 1965 will be held in the Raleigh Convention Center, Rooms 305 A/B, on Saturday, October 3, from 11:00 am until 12:30 pm.

Bartenstein says that more artifacts from the original multi-day festival will be on display at the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s trade show booth, “including a segment of Carlton Haney’s Video Oral History, in which he tells the story of how the festival was envisioned and staged”.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.