Larry Stephenson remembers Sterling Belcher

Larry Stephenson sent along this lovely remembrance of Sterling Belcher, who passed away on January 30. Sterling produced the Festival In The Pines each spring for the past 30 years.

I’ve met many bluegrass fans, promoters, bands, etc. in my years of performing but I’ve never met anyone with the passion and love for bluegrass and old time music than Sterling Belcher! He loved his park, Tripple Creek, he loved the bands that performed there and most of all the people that came through the gate.

It wasn’t the biggest festival with the biggest line-up but I can tell you from experience that I have some of the best memories from Tripple Creek that I will ever have! The Friday night jam on stage with J.D. Crowe, David Parmley & James King…..the Seldom Scene reunion show……the jam with Jimmy Martin and Rhonda Vincent’s band that ended at 5 in the morning just to name a few.

This past May was the 30th anniversary of Tripple Creek, a milestone that Sterling always wanted to hit! He put many of today’s bluegrass greats on stage for the first time……Junior Sisk, James King, Jeanette Williams, Ronnie Bowman and the great Lost & Found. The festival started out as the Lost & Found Homecoming 30 years ago.

We had a wonderful service for Sterling. Dreama gave a great talk about her dad and two of her friends read a wonderful poem that Dreama wrote. His nephews Steve, Randy and Scott Young sang The Beautiful Life. James King, David Parmley, Randy Graham, Kevin Richardson and myself sang Who Will Sing For Me. We ended the service with David Parmley, Randy Graham, Kevin Richardson and myself singing one of Sterling’s favorite gospel songs There Is A Fountain.

Sterling had a great impact on bluegrass and old time music in the Rocky Mount area of Virginia, and anyone who came in contact with him always had a story to tell and thought the world of him. He was very proud of his third nomination for promoter of the year this weekend at the SPBGMA convention in Nashville, TN an award he always wanted to win one day!

I was very proud to be his son-in-law and be a part of his wonderful family. His wife Pat, daughter Dreama, son Stacy, grand-daughter Falon and sister Joyce Wood thank everyone for their kindness.