Thursday at the 2022 Palatka Bluegrass Festival

Deeper Shade of Blue at the 2022 Palatka Bluegrass Festival – photo © Bill Warren

The Rodeheaver Boys Ranch is one of the special venues for bluegrass festivals. It was established in 1950 and provides a home for boys that need guidance. It is completely funded by non-government donations. The ranch motto is “It is better to build boys than to mend men.”

Ranch director Brad Hall welcomed everyone to the festival. Norman and Judy Adams started offering both fall and spring bluegrass festivals a number of years ago at the ranch. Ernie and Debi Evans are now the promoters.

Day 1 of the 2022 Spring Palatka Bluegrass Festival was kicked off by Deeper Shade of Blue. They are one of the most in-demand bands on tour. They are spending two days at the festival, and hosted the Moonlight Jam after the stage show along with Clarence Canada and Justin Mason. The Moonlight Jam is a new feature of Evans Media Source festivals. A festival band or bands host a jam and invite all the campground musicians to join in. It has become a favorite activity.

Chosen Road followed. They are a well known bluegrass Gospel band. They are great supporters of the ranch goals and are a first time band for me. I thoroughly enjoyed their music. They brought Carley Arrowood Thrailkill to play fiddle with them., who has formed her own band, The Carley Arrowood Band.

The Larry Stephenson Band is always a crowd pleaser. Larry said that he played the first Palatka festival. He pays homage to the Osborne Brothers and Bill Harrell at every show. His is one of the most recognizable voices in bluegrass music.

The Malpass Brothers closed out the stage show with their excellent classic country program. Larry Stephenson was invited to join them for a song on each set. It made for a top flight trio! They have become a favorite at many festivals, and will be hosting their first festival in Denton, North Carolina, taking the reins of what was the Doyle Lawson festival.

Friday and Saturday will have Remedy Tree, Deeper Shade of Blue, The Darren Nicholson Band, The Gibson Brothers, The Martins, Corey Zink. The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, and Rhonda Vincent.

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