The MACC (Musicians Against Childhood Cancer) is about the goal of raising money to donate to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the YMCA, which provides Hoover Y Park as a venue. It is also about family, both the extended Adkins family, who lost Mandy Adkins fifteen years ago to a brain stem cancer, and the corps of volunteers who have dedicated time and money over the years to making the event the success it has become. Without the forty or so people who use vacation time or come from near and far to work, some of them for more than a week, the MACC would not be possible. Early arrivals come to line the fields for parking RVs while others arrive a day or so before the festival to staff the gates, provide security, help clean up the mess that several thousand attendees can create, feed the staff and artists, conduct the Children's Band, and much more. All this takes place under the supervision of Darrell and Phyllis Adkins, whose clear vision and thoughtful organization keep the whole enterprise moving forward. By Friday, the staff, some of whom work eighteen hours a day, are becoming weary, but there's a spirit driving the event and the music lifting it up that keeps everyone involved while maintaining energy and keeping a positive outlook. There's almost no griping, and problems are smoothly taken care of by Darrell and his close knit group of lieutenants who've been with him for years.
Flatt Lonesome continues to improve, aided this weekend by Josh Williams highly effective substituting for the absent Buddy Robertson. The band is young, relatively inexperienced, and continues to work on developing itself.
The Grascals are fixtures at The MACC and also sometimes go to Memphis with Darrell and Phyllis Adkins to deliver the MACC's annual check to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The addition of Adam Haynes has re-invigorated the band in much the same way the Kristin Scott Benson's joining several years ago did. One only has to watch the interaction between Haynes and Danny Roberts to see the Grascals are having more fun than they have in years. JaeLee Roberts joined the band to sing "How Great Thou Art" with an iron set of lungs and great pitch.
The Ramblin Rooks introduced themselves to the world as a band three years ago at IBMA's World of Bluegrass, featuring four pickers, each with busy schedules with other bands, three of whom had played together in the Lonesome River Band in the eighties. Three of the original Ramblin Rooks still are the core of the band. Ronnie Bowman, Don Rigsby, and Kenny Smith are the three, and they usually can choose from a variety of fine banjo pickers to fill the band out. They play some LRB covers, a selection of their individual hits, and are slowly incorporating more material they can call their own.