Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sweet Grass Music Festival at Patriot's Point - Preview

The Sweet Grass Music Festival at Patriot's Point in Mt. Pleasant, SC will run on Saturday, March 16 with a superb lineup of local and national bluegrass bands.  Patriot's Point, home of the U.S.S. Yorktown as well as other ships and displays of American military significance, is South Carolina's premier heritage attraction, with or without bluegrass music. It's a don't miss venue for anyone visiting the Charleston area. Tickets for the festival are available in advance at $25.00 or at the gate at $30.00.

The Lineup
Rhonda Vincent & the Rage

Rhonda Vincent is one of the hardest working people in bluegrass music with an acclaimed voice and a fine band both supporting her and performing as soloists, too. She has been awarded the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year award seven times as well as garnering numerous fan awards at SPBGMA. She never fails to provide first rate entertainment from the stage and is always available to greet and chat with her fans at the Martha White Boutique until the last person in line is satisfied. 

 Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
Russell Moore

Russell Moore is the five time IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year.  The band has been named vocal group of the year many times. Their repertoire is wide and deep, filled with many fan favorites.

Steve Dilling

Balsam Range
Darren Nicholson 

Balsam Range, from the mountains of Western North Carolina, has emerged in the past two or three years as one of the hottest bands on the bluegrass circuit. Their combination of driving musicality and wonderful song writing and selection has positioned them for years of excellence and recognition. If you haven't seen this band, you're in for a treat. 

 Buddy Melton

 Sierra Hull and Highway 111

Sierra Hull, only in her early twenties, has been prominent for her virtuoso mandolin play since she was thirteen or fourteen years old. She attended Berklee College of Music in Boston for two years on a presidential scholarship while continuing to tour. Her time there was well-spent as it contributed to her vast expansion as a musician.  She has a sweet voice to accompany her extraordinary instrumental work. Her band includes some of the best young musicians around.

Nothin' Fancy

Nothin' Fancy has been touring with very few personnel changes for about twenty years. A highly entertaining band, they combine wholesome good humor with fine musicianship. Chris Sexton, on fiddle, is a standout, bringing his experience in classical music to bluegrass with both the most mellifluous sound in bluegrass and making musical puns.  

Chris Sexton

Common Ground

Common Ground is a popular Charleston-based band. We've not seen them, so I can't comment except to say they're well-known regionally. Their music offers a range of classic covers and contemporary bluegrass that, at least from their recordings, is pleasant to the ear. They play a busy schedule in and around Charleston.

The Venue
USS Yorktown at Patriots Point

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is home to three National Historic Landmark ships including the USS Yorktown, USS Laffey, and USS Clamagore. The museum also supports a Cold War Museum and the only Vietnam Support Base Camp in the US.  The grounds are immaculate and tours of the ships and grounds provide a rewarding and educational experience.  The Patriots Point Maritime Museum is a state agency, but receives no state or federal funds, relying wholly on admission charges, donations, and revenues from rentals for events.  
The Sweet Grass Music Festival will be held out doors at the Patriots Point venue. Attendees should provide their own seating, avoiding high backed chairs. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be held under the Big Tent. An associated benefit concert will be held at the Seacoast Church ($10.00 or $5.00 with a combination ticket) with Balsam Range performing on Sunday morning. Coolers and pets are prohibited. Discount tickets to the rest of the park will be available at the gate. Attendees should take some time to explore the grounds and ships during the festival or make plans to return. The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum itself, if explored thoroughly, takes most of a day.

How to Get to Patriots Point
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The Sweet Grass Music Festival presents the opportunity to see five national bluegrass bands as well as one local one in a beautiful setting featuring historical ships and a beautiful view of Charleston Harbor. Hope to see you there.