Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jennings Chestnut Benefit Concert - Announcement

Jennings Chestnut
Sadly, Jennings Chestnut died quietly at home on Sunday, after a short illness. A few weeks ago he was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and had been undergoing radiation therapy designed to alleviate swelling in his brain and make him more comfortable. Chestnut, owner of the Chestnut Mandolin Shop on Main Street in Conway (where he had lived almost his entire life), promoter of the one day “free to the public” bluegrass festival Bluegrass on the Waccamaw, consultant to Ocean Lakes Family Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach for their annual August bluegrass festival, and maker of 76 Chestnut mandolins, was a fixture in the South Carolina bluegrass world. In 2002 the State of South Carolina recognized Jennings with the Folk Heritage Award for his contributions to the state in bluegrass music. One of his mandolins is in the collection of the McKissick Museum of the University of South Carolina. Jennings is a fixture in the Conway community where he has worked with ceaseless energy to promote bluegrass music for the enjoyment and education of people throughout Horry County and South Carolina. 

Jennings and Willie Chestnut

 Willie Chestnut

A benefit concert and memorial for Jennings will be held at Conway High School in Conway, SC on Sunday, February 21. Doors open at noon and music will run from 1:00 PM until 6:00 PM. Local and nationally known musicians will perform. Performers will be:
Little Roy Lewis & Lizzie Long
Jeanette and Johnny Williams
Darin & Brooke Aldridge
The Snyder Family
Gena Britt Band
Morris Brothers
Red White Family
Pathway Gospel Bluegrass Band
Sanders Girls
Danny Stanley
The Conway High School Acapella Choir
Alan Bibey & Friends

Tickets at the door will be $10.00. People not able to attend can mail donations to:
Jennings Chestnut, Sr. Memorial Fund
Conway National Band
Conway, SC 29625

For more information contact Donald Smith at (843) 455-6161

Conway High School can be found here:

As with many people in bluegrass, Jennings and his wife Willie  led an interesting and important life while never accumulating much in the way of money or possessions. They approached Jennings'  illness with grace and dignity, but the expense has placed enormous burdens on them. By attending the benefit concert or contributing through the address above, you can help ease their burden substantially. Everyone who knew Jennings and Willie is aware of their generosity of spirit, pride, and independence. Please help them in these difficult times. Alan Bibey, nationally known mandolin player who lives in the area and Donald Smith, a local business man and Jennings' partner in Bluegrass on the Waccamaw have spearheaded this event.

Alan Bibey - Event Coordinator
The Chestnut Family
Grandchildren Dylan and Amanda Lynn, Daughter Ginger
Willie and Jennings Chestnut