News Column

Happy kind of blue: Annual bluegrass festival on tap in Carl Junction

September 27, 2013


Sept. 27--CARL JUNCTION, Mo. -- This year's Carl Junction Bluegrass and Crafts Festival was to feature new faces in leadership positions, ready to change things up and give the festival a new look.

That didn't happen, said Gary Stubblefield.

"We don't really mess with it, because honestly, it works," said Stubblefield, a member of the organizational committee for the festival, which is set for Saturday. "The bands are favorites, the car show is the same, and we have the usual kids activities like the train and petting zoo."

The festival is the longest running bluegrass event in Southwest Missouri, Stubblefield said. Started in 1998 by then mayor Jim Wisdom, the event was designed to showcase Center Creek Park. Now, it draws thousands to Carl Junction, Stubblefield said -- enough to double the city's population.

There are some new features this year: a clown and duck races are new, he said. Breakfast will be available from some of the food vendors. But the festival's heart -- bluegrass and crafts -- will also be prominently featured with favorites.

"A lot of these bands come back every year, and some are nationally known," Stubblefield said.

Music lineup

Musical guests for the festival include:

* Red Bridge: Named for a bridge southeast of Ozark, Red Bridge Bluegrass has been together since 2010. The traditional band features four vocalists and a variety of instrumentation, from banjo to dobro. According to a biography on the band's website, the band plays a variety of bluegrass favorites and interpretations, from original compositions to gospel favorites.

* No Apparent Reason: A bluegrass quartet that plays regular gigs around the region, No Apparent Reason features Rick Rector, Ron Chandler, Randy Wagner and Rick Carneal.

* Bluegrass Brigade: Founded in 1974 in Kansas City, Bluegrass Brigade has recorded 15 albums and played in a variety of locations, from a regular appearance at Silver Dollar City to festivals in Vienna, Austria, and Dublin, Ireland. It is comprised of guitarist Jack Burlison, bassist Mae Burlison, fiddler Don Montgomery and banjo and mandolin player Jim McGreevy.

* The Farnum Family: Norm and Trish Farnum, who have a history of playing Branson attractions, have some talented children who join their musical efforts. The couple and their six children perform gospel, old-time and Western music across the country, including regular gigs at Silver Dollar City. The family resides in Galena, Mo.

* New Dogs, Old Tricks: A twist on the local band Old Dogs, New Tricks, the new version features only one old dog, according to its Facebook page. Comprised of a teen and two barely twentysomethings, the band hosts a regular show at the Oak Grove School House. The band is comprised of mandolinist David Johnson, banjo player Daniel Shilling, bassist Kimberlynn Johnson and guitarist Stephen Johnson.

* For Heaven's Sake.

* Joellen Doyle and Friends.

* Berry Wynn & Fly By Nite.

* Kentucky 31.

Other standards

The festival will also include other staples, such as a crafts festival where everything must be homemade -- no commercially constructed items are sold, Stubblefield said.

A car show featuring modern and antique automobiles will begin at 8 a.m., and children's activities will be held.

Festival coordinator Glenna Henson said the event is a perfect reunion for family and friends.

"People visit, (and) they get to see other folks they haven't seen for a year," Henson said. "They enjoy the shade, the picnic tables, the music. And there is so much food that it's overwhelming."

Reporter Andra Bryan Stefanoni contributed to this report.

Want to go?

The 16th annual Carl Junction Bluegrass and Crafts Festival will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Center Creek Park in Carl Junction. Music begins at 9:30 a.m. Parking assistance will be provided by the Missouri Governors Mounted Guard. Details: 417-649-7237.


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