Steve Groat, who established the Aiken Bluegrass Festival in 2004 with his wife, Jeannie, died on Tuesday (12/11). He was 67 years old, and had been vigorously battling cancer this past 9 years.
The festival is held in Aiken, SC and is a benefit event to raise funds for STAR Riding, a therapeutic riding program that was a passion for Steve, who was an avid horseman. It is the only major bluegrass festival in central South Carolina and has been a hit from the start.
We spoke yesterday evening with Christian Schaumann, who has managed the festival since 2007, when Steve’s cancer made it too big a burden for he and Jeannie to handle alone. He assures us that the annual event will continue, with the May 2013 show serving as a memorial for Groat.
Christian mentioned that this next will be Steve’s last lineup, and that he had been able to confirm Della Mae’s appearance not long before he died.
The Groat family has asked that anyone wishing to memorialize Steve do so with a donation to the festival, which can be sent to:
Aiken Bluegrass Festival
c/o STAR Riding
PO Box 698
Aiken, SC 29802
Bluegrass Today sends our condolences to the family and Steve’s many friends in the bluegrass world.