Deb Miller of B Chord Photography was on hand during last weekend’s Bluegrass Island Festival, held in Manteo on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She shared a number of her images from the festival, including what was the highlight for many attendees, the special Tony Rice Tribute show they staged on Thursday night.
The idea for the show came from Wes Lassiter, a longtime OBX resident and bluegrass musician, Cory Hemilright who manages the festival, and Miller. Their concept was to invite a bevy of top bluegrass artists who have been influenced by Tony’s music to perform together on songs and tunes Tony has made famous.
Participants included Josh Williams, Jason Moore, Wyatt Rice, Brad Hudson, Richard Bennett, Kevin Richardson, Aaron Ramsey, Caleb Smith, Kenny Smith, Jason Moore, Frank Poindexter, Wes Lassiter Don Rigsby, Steve Dilling, and Sideline.
The show was brought to a premature close by an overzealous park employee who shut things down owing to a 11:00 p.m. sound curfew administered by the Town of Manteo. The show was allowed to run 15 minutes over before it was shut down. Fans enjoyed over 90 minutes of tribute performances beforehand, though Presley Barker and Doyle Lawson were left waiting in the wings without a chance to share their respect for Tony.
Sales of posters, T-shirts, and donated items – including a custom Martin Clarence White guitar, singed by Tony Rice – generated almost $9,000 in proceeds, which be donated to Tony. The guitar went to Joe Trent who had the winning bid.