After 7 years of offering 3 day multi-instrument bluegrass seminars, Roanoke Bluegrass Weekend is calling it quits. Jointly hosted since November of 2002 by mandolin legend Herschel Sizemore and our own John Lawless, RBW has fallen prey to the many demands of John’s work with AcuTab, and Herschel’s retirement interests.
The event got its start in 1998 as an an all-banjo event, The AcuTab Banjo Seminar, which John hosted on his own. In 2000, Dan Miller, publisher of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine joined as co-host, and they added mandolin and guitar to the mix. During that period, they welcomed such esteemed artists as Sammy Shelor, Wayne Benson, David Grier and Chris Thile as instructors.
When Dan pulled out after two years, Herschel and John teamed up to continue operating the event, adding fiddle as well as bass, dobro and voice at various times since 2002. They were proud to see legends like Kenny Baker, Bobby Hicks, Roland White, Allen Shelton and Eddie Adcock as members of their faculty, plus younger “impact players” like Ron Stewart, Aubrey Haynie, Rob Ickes, Kenny Smith, Tim Stafford, Adam Steffey and Don Rigsby – just to name a few.
There is a statement from Herschel and John on the RBW web site about the event’s demise.
In all things, there comes a time to say goodbye, and so it is with our Roanoke Bluegrass Weekend. We both find our time stretched thin, and are unwilling to continue with this event absent our full attention and concentration. It has not been an easy decision, but we feel that it would be unfair to hold the weekend with so little time to dedicate to making it beneficial for the registrants.
Ultimately, it has been the students who have attended that have had the biggest impact on RBW, and we thank you all most particularly for supporting this event over the years. Your suggestions and feedback helped us to shape and modify RBW from one year to the next, and it was seeing your exhausted but beaming faces as things came to a close each year that kept us going when the time commitment seemed too severe.
Please don’t blame Bluegrass Today! John says that it is his other commitments and plans that have him in a time bind.