Attendance at the Bluegrass on the Mountain Festival was dampened by rain Saturday, but the show went on and another event is planned for the future.
Bluegrass music legend Ricky Skaggs headlined the festival, held at the Wilderness Trail Off-Road Park in Bell County.
Although the rain caused attendance to be reduced dramatically, Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock is determined to continue to bring events like this one to the area.
“What we wanted to do here was get something started. We’ve got more local bluegrass groups than any other genre,” he said. “We had such huge success with the concert in the fall, we wanted to build on that success.”
Brock said he and the other organizers wanted to “go big or go home” so they booked the “King of Bluegrass,” Ricky Skaggs.
Skaggs was excited to return home to his Kentucky roots, he told the audience.
“I’m sorry about the weather and the small crowd, but we’re going to have a good time anyway,” Skaggs said.
Two days of rain made the concert venue muddy, but those who were on the mountain enjoyed an afternoon of continuous bluegrass music, food and inflatables for the children.
“We’ve heard some of the best bluegrass around,” said Brock. “We have a decent crowd and have great groups. I also appreciate these vendors who have come out.”
After the fall concert’s success, Brock said he wanted to couple an ATV event and a bluegrass concert.
“We’d like to have two really big musical and ATV events a year,” he said, adding he wants to keep vendors local so local non-profits would have an opportunity to raise money.
The damp weather didn’t dampen the spirits of Brock or those who were there.
“We’ll try it again,” Brock said. “We can’t control the weather, so I definitely want to try it again.”
Local groups performing Saturday included Children of the Cumberland River Music Academy, the Crossroads Gospel Bluegrass Band, Tazewell Pike, Crosspoint and Common Strings.
Skaggs performed several of his hits such as “Uncle Pen” and “Highway 40 Blues,” as well as music from his new album, “Music to My Ears.” A cut from that, “You Can’t Hurt Ham,” was especially popular with the audience.
“Who would have thought a song about ham would be popular,” laughed Skaggs.
Skaggs stayed after his performance to meet those who braved the weather to watch him perform.
In a phone interview last week, Skaggs said his next projects include a CD of live recordings he and Bruce Hornsby made and an EP of five songs he and his wife Sharon recorded together. Skaggs also has his autobiography coming out in August, titled “Kentucky Traveler.”