Kevin Prater to manage Three Rivers Bluegrass Festival

A new bluegrass festival is being launched in central Ohio, with popular singer and bandleader, Kevin Prater, at the helm.

Billed as the Three Rivers Bluegrass Festival, it is scheduled for April 27-28, 2018 at the Coshocton Fairgrounds in Coshocton, OH. Booking and arrangements for this first event are just beginning now, but fans and festival lovers in this part of the country may want to mark the dates for next year.

Kevin became interested in the bluegrass scene in central Ohio after becoming friends with Duane Hardesty, bass player with the Chestnut Ridge Bluegrass Gospel Band. Duane puts on a monthly concert series at the Coshocton Village Inn & Suites, and believes that the area was ripe for an annual weekend festival of its own. He was able to convince Kevin to get on board, and they arranged with Fairgrounds President Jim McClure to make their facilities available.

Kevin shared a few details we can expect to see at the first Three Rivers event…

“On Friday we will feature a Hillbilly Park Remembrance. Hillbilly Park operated from 1945 – 1966, about 15 miles from the festival location. Every big name in country and bluegrass, when leaving the Grand Ole Opry, would come to Newark (Nashport), OH to play Hillbilly Park. The Stanley Brothers were here when they found out their father has passed away. Bill Monroe, The Osborne Brothers, Roy Acuff, Little Jimmy Dickens, Wilma Lee Cooper, Brenda Lee, and many others played there. Wayne Newton was from Newark, and was a staff performer, but the largest crowd they ever had was Red Foley.

On Saturday there will be a Tribute to Lonzo & Oscar comedy team from the Grand Ole Opry. Our guitar player, Tom Timberlake, was the last Lonzo when they ended it. Tom is putting the tribute together. We are hoping to recreate the show, and have memorabilia on display.”

The Fairgrounds have a large, covered concert area with plenty of parking, and ample space for vendors of every kind. Sounds perfect for a bluegrass festival.

Bands and potential sponsors are being contacted now, and further details should be released in short order.

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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.