To celebrate Appalachian and Harlan County heritage, the seventh annual Goin’ Back to Harlan Bluegrass Festival will be on June 28 through June 30 on the Harlan campus of Southeast Community and Technical College just off the 421 Bypass by ARH Hospital on Ball Park Road. The festival is sponsored in part by the Harlan County Fiscal Court and local residents and businesses.
Beginning at 5 p.m. on June 28 performing will be Hollow Ground, of Big Stone Gap, Va., followed by local bands New Ridge, Wolfe Creek Grass, Pine Mountain Grass and Bluegrass 101 of Shepherdsville.
“Bluegrass 101 will astonish you with their smooth vocal harmony and precise traditional music,” said festival committee member Jim McKenzie. “They present a professional image and leave a lasting impression on the audience.”
Starting up on June 29 at 11 a.m. will be Mountain Melody, followed by Wendy Miller and Mike Lilly, Donna Ulisse and the Poor Mountain Boys from Nashville, Bluegrass 101, Breakin’ Grass and Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers from Ohio.
“Everyone will love the rich voice of Donna Ulisse,” said festival committee member Jerry Haynes. “Her lyrics are so touching and she tells great stories through her music as she sings of love, family, faith, tradition, good times and bad times. Her current song ‘Let It Rain’ is number 8 on the national bluegrass charts. You don’t want to miss Donna Ulisse and the Poor Mountain Boys.”
On the last day of the festival, June 30, the music will begin at 11 a.m. with Wendy Miller and Mike Lilly, followed by C.F. Bailey and Shadow Ridge, from Tazewell, Tenn., Breakin’ Grass, Mountain Drive, The New Coon Creek Girls and The Moron Brothers, of Wilmore.
“You’ll love some of the songs from C.F. Bailey and Shadow Ridge’s new album entitled “Hillbilly Big Shots,” said McKenzie. “They’ll give you some toe-tapping music — making you glad you came out to be a part of the festival. The Moron Brothers are the funniest singing duo you’ve ever heard. They’ll have you rolling out of your seat with laughter, while providing some really good bluegrass music.”
During the festival there will be indoor restrooms with showers available, free primitive camping, limited RV hook ups (first come, first serve) and ample parking with handicap access.
“We’ll have craft vendors such as Deer Creek Farms, out of Tennessee, with jams and ciders,” said McKenzie. “We have an Amish group coming from Bath County with lots of great things to sell. We have local people, such as the Motts with their handmade candles. There will be lots of crafts to chose from. We’ll have ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, funnel cake, smoked sausages, sandwiches and so much more.”
Haynes said there will be festival T-shirts available for purchase and a $1 per ticket raffle to win a Cracker Barrel rocking chair and a Smith and Wesson MD-15 .22 caliber rifle. He said they will also be giving away several “really great door prizes.”
Admission is $10 on Thursday, $15 for all day Friday and $15 for all day Saturday. Children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult is admitted free of charge. A three-day pass will be available for purchase at the gate for $25. Advance ticket passes for all three days may be purchased at Don’s Super Saver in Harlan for $20.
“We have a great line up this year. We hope everyone will come out and support this festival,” said McKenzie. “We’d like to see the festival continue for years to come, but we need everyone’s support to make this happen. So, bring your chair, sit under the tents and enjoy one of the best festivals in southeastern Kentucky and some of the best bluegrass anywhere.”
For more information, you may call (606) 573-4106 or 573-7358 or visit their Web site at www.harlanbgfestival.com.