High Lonesome Strings 25th annual Pickin’ in the Park

Starlett & Big John at the 25th annual HLS Pickin’ in the Park 2024 – photo © G Nicholas Hancock

The 25th annual High Lonesome Strings Bluegrass Association (HLS) Pickin’ in the Park festival was held this past Saturday at Hagan-Stone Park in Pleasant Garden, NC. The annual event in May provides an all-day, free bluegrass music festival featuring up to five bands. Also, HLS Youth Scholarships for music lessons and music camps are awarded to 10 to 12 youngsters each year. Most of the young recipients receive $500 scholarships.

High Lonesome Strings was co-founded in July 1997 by Pammy Davis Lassiter and Dale Giddens, uncle to Carolina Chocolate Drops co-founder Rhiannon Giddens, and eight others. HLS became a 501(c)(3) organization in 2003 and began awarding youth scholarships in 2017. To date, there have been 82 scholarships awarded for a total of $40,500. Only students/musicians of traditional acoustic bluegrass instruments (acoustic bass, banjo, dobro, fiddle, guitar, or mandolin) aged 18 and younger are eligible to apply. 

Saturday’s band lineup included Hot Wax & the Splinters, Starlett & Big John (John Talley and Starlett Austin), Hindsight, Paula Dellenback & Fox River, and Second Chance Bluegrass. The eleven 2024 youth scholarship winners were Aubree Decker, Alexander Ferranti, Benjamin Ferranti, JD Hussey, Arthur Hayes, Alexander Hayes, Elizabeth Honey, Elliot King, Hollace Oakes, Jacob Sheffield, and Truett Wagner.

Share this:

About the Author

Nicholas Hancock

Nicholas Hancock is a former newspaper writer and editor who also played rhythm guitar in The Bluegrass Gentlemen from 1968 through mid-1974. Today, he is retired and enjoying his hobby of photographing bluegrass and other music events.