New name, new format for Miami Valley Bluegrass Heritage Festival

What do you do when it’s rained on your new festival its first two years, but you’re determined to make a go if it?

The folks in Miamisburg, OH decided to give the event a new name, and raise sufficient corporate sponsorship to come back in 2017 as a free festival. So on September 16, the Miami Valley Bluegrass Heritage Festival will be held in Riverfront Park along the Miami River.

Fans are invited to bring their lawn chairs, blankets, and umbrellas but no coolers, bottles or alcoholic beverages can be brought in. Food, beverages, and alcohol sales will be enabled in the park. Pets also need to stay at home.

Promoter Max Nunery shared a few words about the thinking that led to the new look and name for 2017.

“We decided to make a few changes this year. First, a new name, one that focuses on the huge, and very important role the Miami Valley has had in the history of bluegrass music. As you know, many pioneers and legends have spent years calling the Miami Valley home during their career. The Osborne Brothers, Larry Sparks, and Red Allen all emerged from Dayton in the 1960s along with other greats Mike Lilly & Wendy Miller, Frank Wakefield, Moon and Joe Mullins, and the late great Harley Allen

Secondly, becoming a FREE family friendly event for all to enjoy this year. We will have raffles, 50/50s Brazos and funny Family Fun bounce houses until about 7:00 p.m., with music the rest of the evening. We are now a non-profit organization, and are working very close with The city of Miamisburg. They have been very supportive, and this year decided to blend their Artisan Craft vendor festival into ours to allow better shopping options to our festival patrons, and are involved in the logistic help as well.

Rain had all but ruined last years event, and did stagger our momentum a bit. I know the potential for a great event is here in my hometown. The first year in 2015 drew out a couple thousand people after the rain stopped. This year I added bluegrass legend, and Lebanon naive Larry Sparks, along with no fee in hopes to draw out more folks.

Miamisburg is a great environment for a community festival like ours. The festival is nestled in between the river valley which the downtown restaurants and shops all border on the east side of the festival grounds. Lots of local shops, and restaurants to check out while your here. Please come celebrate the rich bluegrass heritage of the Miami Valley! Bring your lawn chair, and settle in for a great day of music and fun.”

Over the course of the summer, the festival staff have hosted a series of Saturday night bluegrass shows at the Star City Brewing Company, located just a few blocks from the riverfront. These are building up some excitement for a fun day of music in September, with one show left next weekend.

Other entertainers on the festival bill include The Clay Hess Band, Hammertowne, Nightflyer, and several others.

Full details can be found online.

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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.