The Bluegrass Classic, presented by Ernie and Deb Evan, at the Florida Classic Park near Brooksville, FL will run this year from February 24 - 28. The event replaces the Roscoe Canaday Festival previously held on this weekend at the Dixieland RV Park in Waldo, Florida, a site that the festival had outgrown. Florida Classic Park, containing 256 water/electric sites, a new pavilion, and a large washroom containing showers should prove to be a lovely site for a festival on a grass covered field which often serves as the home of large, dog shows. We drove out there last spring where we found the grounds locked, so we couldn't survey them closely, but it looked well groomed with good drainage, and should more than adequately serve as a fine home for a growing festival. I've scattered photos from dog shows held here throughout the preview. It's easy to imagine the uses of this space for The Bluegrass Classic.
Blue Highway has been one of the most consistent and recognized bluegrass bands in the country for twenty-two years. Until the recent exit of Dobro great Rob Ickes, the band had experienced virtually no personnel changes. Faced with the challenge of replacing the irreplacable, Blue Highway has hired Gavin Largent, a young virtuoso multi-instrumentalist. We saw Gavin playing with Nothin' Fancy a couple of weeks ago on both banjo and Dobro and were mightily impressed by his ability to adapt quickly and present wonderful instrumental work. It will be huge fun to watch this young addition to the veteran band that has been so successful over many years.
Perhaps Sideline should change its name. Begun as a side project by several very busy musicians, Sideline has become successful beyond all expectations, as exemplified by a recent national tour. Emcee Steve Dilling is his usual charming self, while brother duo Brian Aldridge on mandolin sings up a storm. Meanwhile, fifteen year old Nathan Aldridge plays fiddle with skill and maturity befitting a veteran twice his age.