Photos from Industrial Strength Bluegrass Festival

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver at Industrial Strength Bluegrass (11/11/21) – photo © Bill Warren

The Industrial Strength Bluegrass Festival kicked off on Veteran’s Day 2021 at the Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio. The name may be new, but it is the same great festival – the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival – that is put on by Joe Mullins, his family, and the Radio Ramblers. Daniel Mullins has taken on the duties of organizing and managing the festival. Daniel is well on his way to becoming a driving force in bluegrass music as a writer and historian.

The evening was kicked off by the host band playing some of their old favorites, and new music from their two new projects. Industrial Strength Bluegrass tells the story of Southwestern Ohio’s musical legacy and Somewhere Beyond the Blue is an uplifting Gospel album.

Joe handled the MC duties for the evening, showing up with his Industrial Strength hard hat! Blake Williams will be the MC for the rest of the show.

Darin and Brooke Aldridge once again graced the Roberts Centre Stage. They have developed into one of the truly high powered bands in bluegrass music. Darin’s soaring high tenor blends with Brooke’s unmatched power and agility. Their new project is titled This Life We’re Livin’. They have become the “”weethearts of Bluegrass!” Catch their show when they are in your area.

The evening was closed out by the legendary Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. This show marked Doyle’s final performance in Ohio, as he is retiring from the road at the end of 2021. He has a full calendar ending with his final performance at the Jekyll Island Bluegrass Festival on New Year’s weekend. Doyle formed the band in 1979 and it has been a wonderful run. He will continue to be involved in the music. Doyle’s tenor singer, Ben James, is recovering from a respiratory illness. Doyle sang quite a bit of tenor to the delight of the audience. Enjoy your retirement Doyle!

Friday morning will see the launch of the Doug Eyink Alternative Strings Scholarship Fund. The fund will be kicked off with a brunch hosted by the Radio Ramblers. Doug has retired from teaching to fight his battle with cancer. Joe says of the establishment of the fund, “I want his impact and legacy to always be appreciated and represented in Ohio schools.” Doug has led the Alternative Strings for over fifteen years introducing countless students and their families to bluegrass music. Donations to the fund can be forwarded through Joe Mullins.

The Friday and Saturday musical presentations include the Kevin Prater Band, The Quebe Sisters, Nothin’ Fancy, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-Press, Donna Ulisse and the Poor Mountain Boys, Alan Bibey and Grasstowne, Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass, the Malpass Brothers, and the host band, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers.

Saturday morning features a mandolin workshop with Bobby Osborne, Alan Bibey, Jeff Parker, and Ryan Paisley.

All-in-all a weekend filled with the best bluegrass has to offer.

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