Destined to become the premiere bluegrass festival east of the NC Mountains, the 2nd Annual Pamlico Community College Bluegrass Festival opens its doors free to the public, Saturday, March 7, at 11 a.m. in the Ned Everett Delamar Center. Ten groups, featuring headliners Dennis Cash who is sponsored by the DownEast Folk Art Society, and the regionally acclaimed Harbor Sounds will play until 4 p.m. or beyond.
The PCC Bluegrass Festival comes under the umbrella of PCC Cultural Enrichment Programs headed by Leigh Russell, Chair of Library Services. To help build the components of this event, Russell drew on a long-standing cultural resource, veteran musician, music educator, historic interpreter, author, and performer in a world venue, Simon Spalding of the group Casablanca and Tuppence.
Spalding is an accomplished expert on string instruments, both contemporary and from the old world. Spalding and Russell have worked together to create an event designed to “bring the house down.”
Marvin Walker, and “The Presently Unaffiliated,” Thursday Morn, Downeast Dulcimers, Gumbo Lily, The Wilson Family, and Three Rivers Band, will be performing on stages both inside and outside the Delamar Center. Banjos, guitars, mandolins, autoharps, fiddles, dulcimers, and “bull fiddles” will fill the air with up-beat, up-tempo music.
Gumbo Lily is one of the very popular groups retuning from last year’s festival, along with the accomplished Wilson Family. The Wilson Family’s appearance last year was a debut performance for them in a festival venue. They return with a widely expanded repertory of music.
A gumbo lily, also called “butte primrose,” is a wildflower of the west growing in the gumbo (clay dirt) of South Dakota and other western states.
The band, influenced by the likes of Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, The Rockerville South Dakota Bluegrass Jam, and Ed Ruiz, of Trent River Coffee Company fame in New Bern, chose Gumbo Lily as a name, but professes their love of Coastal North Carolina sand, salt water and salty air.
The Downeast Dulcimers will create a mountain music persona on stage that will call for many encores.
A returning feature this year will be the pickers’ tent. Pickers, novices or seasoned veterans, are encouraged to bring their strings and join fellow bluegrass aficionados at the pickers’ tent on the green, green grass surrounding the Delamar Center.
The festival opens with at 11a.m. and will continue until 4 p.m. or later. The PCC Campus is located at 5049 Highway 306, five miles south of the intersection of Highway 306 and NC 55 in Grantsboro. This vast array of talent will be performing free for the public. For more information on the event, contact Leigh Russell, 252-249-1851× 3033, firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Russell, “This festival has the promise to be a major cultural event, not just the local area but for all of North Carolina. The Delamar Center is a perfect facility that can accommodate an expanding venue each year. Someday in the future, as this festival grows in scope and popularity, I foresee people counting it as a real treasure to have attended from the beginning. Our excitement for next year will start building the day after this festival.”