On July 2, 3, 4, 2011 the inaugural Oak Leaf Bluegrass & Mountain Music Festival will celebrate in grand style the bluegrass festival's 50th anniversary. Hosted by Shenandoah Valley Mountain Music Makers Association, an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit Virginia based corporation and Luray Caverns at the Luray Valley Museum in Luray, Virginia, the three day celebration will include today's great bluegrass talent including some of the musicians from the original festival. Scheduled appearances include a meet and greet with Dr. Ralph Stanley and performances by Bill Clifton, the promoter of the World’s first bluegrass festival and Nothin’ Fancy, Heartland, Highlanders Old-time String Band, Shenandoah Drive, Jimmy Gaudreau & Moondi Kline, Robin & Linda Williams & Their Fine Group, Steel Wheels, Page County Ramblers, Miller Brothers & Wild Horse, Virginia Blue, Me & Martha, Larry Stephenson Band, Eddie & Martha Adcock, Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie, Ralph Lee Smith & Madeline MacNeil, Professor and Mrs. Gibson and many more Shenandoah Valley performers.
The three-day festival event will pay homage to the great music from the Shenandoah Valley, including bluegrass, mountain music, old-time string band, traditional country, gospel and shaped-note singing, Piedmont blues, and folk music. With one main stage and two more intimate music spaces the festival will bring together a sample of music representing the musical history and traditions of the Valley. The festival will also have a 17th & 18th century arts & craft area, great food vendors, Shenandoah Valley wine & beer tasting areas, activities for every member of the family, lots of music, dry camping, and field picking/jamming. So don't forget to bring your instrument.
There will be music vendors, luthiers and instrument makers from the region, slow-jams and hands-on instrument and vocal workshops and an instrument petting zoo for the child in all of us. The Luray Valley Museum campus features a collection of buildings from the area including a restored 1860 log thrashing barn, 1854 blacksmith shop, 1830 Mennonite/Brethren Church, 1883 Hamburg Free School, which is one of the first African-American Schools in Virginia, 1840 Justice Bell House, and other historically significant out-buildings. The Luray Valley Museum has a great collection of Valley artifacts and art work with display and exhibit areas highlighting the Valley's heritage. There is a mining sluice for children reminding us that the Valley had a brief period of silt-mining.
On February 1, 2011 Virginia Governor, the Honorable Robert F. McDonnell, issued two Certificate of Recognition. One declares July 2011 as Virginia Bluegrass Festival Month; the other honors Virginia resident Bill Clifton for his contribution as bluegrass musician and as the promoter and organizer of the World’s first bluegrass festival held at Oak Leaf Park in Luray, Virginia on July 4, 1961. The Governor also officially recognized the Oak Leaf Bluegrass & Mountain Music Festival, as the festival celebrating “the 50th anniversary of this important moment in Virginia’s history and the Commonwealth’s rich heritage of bluegrass music.”
The Oak Leaf Bluegrass & Mountain Music Festival is the largest single music festival event of its kind in the Shenandoah Valley and the must attend event for 2011. For more information and tickets visit www.shenandoahmusictrail.com and follow the festival link or call 540-209-3540.