YeeHaw Junction kicks of on Thursday, January 20th and runs through Sunday, January 23rd. Last year Keith and Darlene Bass along with then partners the Hall family took over ownership of the festival, inheriting most of the lineup Steve Dittman had established. This year, after assuming full control of the event, the Bass's have strengthened the lineup by increasing the proportion of national bands and bands from outside Florida. The festival's lineup has taken on a shape and nature reflecting the Bass's preferences, no longer looking like the familiar Steve Dittman lineup. They're taking some risks by bringing more bands from outside the state with more bands reflecting their own taste and direction.
YeeHaw Junction lies about thirty-five miles due west of Vero Beach, just off an exit of the Florida Turnpike. If you had driven past the "World Famous" Desert Inn at YeeHaw Junction two weeks before the festival is scheduled to begin you might look to your right and see cattle grazing in a large pasture. On January 19th, you'd see a large tent in the middle of that field, a gate with a sign saying "Bluegrass Festival" and RV rigs of varying sizes being set up surrounding the tent. The Florida bluegrass community is beginning to assemble for the first large event of the New Year. 2011 marks the 17th year of YeeHaw Junction.
|Thursday, Jan 20, 2011 |
The Untold Riches - 4pm Ken Scoggins & Miller’s Creek - 5pm Hard Ryde - 6pm Hagar’s Mountain Boys - 7pm
Friday, Jan 21, 2011
Ken Scoggins & Miller’s Creek - 11am
Saturday, Jan 22, 2011
Constant Change - 11am
Sunday, Jan 23, 2011
Gospel Hour - 9am
Music begins at 4:00 PM on Thursday and continues all weekend. The traditional Sunday fiddle contest has been laid to rest. Following Mike and Mary Robinson's Gospel Bluegrass Jam, a day of bluegrass music will follow, with Gary Waldrep closing at 3:00 PM.
The official opening of the festivities begins on Wednesday evening when Keith and Darlene serve up the most tasty barbecued whole hog barbecue you've ever experienced while also reducing the population of local feral hogs. This covered dish supper sets the tone for the rest of the event - informal, friendly, relaxed - filled with good fun and fine music. Afterwards, the jamming continues late into the night. As this is written, Darlene is not certain precisely what workshops will be offered, but there'll be plenty of learning experiences for people who play or want to learn to play bluegrass instruments. Food vendors will be varied, offering a range of traditional festival foods as well as healthy alternatives.
Advance ticket sales for YeeHaw Junction end on January 12th. As of the eleventh, only eight electric hookups remain, but the YeeHaw site provides nearly unlimited rough camping. Fresh water is available, and pumpouts are provided for a price. Generators are permitted except during quiet hours and campers are requested to refrain from using commercial (loud) generators. The size of the site permits groups to create compounds, where jamming and partying often continues late into the night.
Keith and Darlene Bass have spent the last two years learning how to promote bluegrass festivals (they also are promoters of the Bluegrass Family Gathering at Craig's RV north of Arcadia in March) and are learning fast. Irene and I regret we won't be attending either of the Bass events this year, but we'll make every effort to resume our Florida visits next year. Meanwhile, YeeHaw Junction looks like it will provide a fine weekend of great bluegrass music selected from first rate national bands and strong regional bands from outside Florida.