Lester Flatt to be celebrated at MerleFest

Lester FlattThe 100th anniversary of Lester Flatt’s birthdate is on June 19 this year and many residents of his home town, Sparta, Tennessee, will be celebrating the life of the first generation bluegrass legend. 

Among the events planned is the collaborative effort by Roland White and Blake Williams who will be celebrating 100 years of Lester Flatt at MerleFest (Wilkesboro, North Carolina) this coming Saturday, April 26.

White joined The Nashville Grass in 1969 and worked with the group until 1973 when he left to join his brother, Clarence White, in a television venture. Williams joined The Nashville Grass in 1978 and continued to perform with the band until Flatt passed away on May 11, 1979.

White and Williams presented the idea to MerleFest Artist Relations Manager, Steve Johnson last year.

Williams elaborates ….

Roland White and Blake Williams“Lester would have been 100 years old this June and Roland and I felt it was so important to commemorate the life of this iconic person in bluegrass music history. So we made our pitch to Steve and are so thankful that he and the MerleFest staff agreed that Lester should be honoured in some way at this year’s festival.

Not only is it important for Roland and I to reminisce about Lester with the folks who knew him and his music, but it’s essential that we continue to educate the younger generation on the people who made bluegrass what it is today.”

Kimberly Williams, publicist for Liberty Square – A Lester Flatt Celebration in Sparta, adds ..

“While they will most surely pick a couple of tunes, this is a storytelling, humour and history presentation on Lester Flatt and life on the road with him.”

The duo will honor the legendary singer and songwriter at the Mayes Pit stage, beginning at 10:45 a.m. (ET) on June 19.

More details on the annual Lester Flatt Celebration in Tennessee can be found online.

Share this:

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.