Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival returns under new management

This report on the resurrected Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival in Missouri is a contribution from Tammy Harman, a member of Bull Harman & Bull’s Eye, and an officer in the Missouri Area Bluegrass Committee. It will also appear in their newsletter.

When Don and Bobbi Day announced last fall that they would no longer be able to put on their annual Starvy Creek bluegrass festivals in July and September each year, it was a very sad day in our Missouri bluegrass world. After 37 years, the Day Family felt they could no longer keep up due to their age and health. Don is 85.

The festivals have been held on their family farm since they started. Everyone had suggestions, ideas, offers to help, and so on, but ultimately, it was the family’s decision to step away from the long hours and hard work it takes to put on an outdoor bluegrass festival.

Just a couple weeks later, Aaron McDaris, banjo player with Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, along with his wife Amy, worked out an agreement with Don to keep the festival going by leasing the farm which includes the campground, stage, and seating area. Aaron and his family then went to work hiring the bands, and lining out new food vendors.

Some things changed but for the most part, this year’s July festival stayed the same. Running a festival isn’t something Aaron had taken on before, and he was bombarded with opinions and ideas. Three weeks before the first festival under his name, the campers were rolling in.

By the day the festival was to start, all the electric hookups were occupied, over 400 in total. Folks kept coming in. The tent area was full, lawn chairs were set up as far as you could see, and folks were downright jolly that Starvy Creek was continuing. 

Aaron and his family were overwhelmed with the outpouring of support.  By Day two, they were downright exhausted and running on little sleep, but they kept going and had a great team of volunteers to make sure things ran smoothly.

It was pretty exciting thing to watch happen in our State of Missouri. The drive in crowd kept coming in as well, and the weather was perfect, unlike any early July weather I can remember. Dark clouds rolled completely around us, a gentle breeze blew, and the evenings were cool.

Aaron and Amy also kept the tradition of the Russ Morton Youth Showcase, which is hosted by longtime Missouri fiddler, Russ Morton’s grandson, Andrew Morton. There were two sessions since there were so many youth that signed up to showcase. 

I’ve always said that God loves Starvy Creek too, and this year was proof that He does.

Congratulations to Aaron and Amy McDaris for stepping up to save one of the biggest and oldest festivals in the Midwest.  

The next Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival will be held Sept 14-16 in Conway, Missouri.

Full details can be found online.