Friday, March 4, 2016

Sertoma Youth Ranch Spring Bluegrass Festival - Brooksville, FL (March 23 - 27, 2016) - Preview

The Sertoma Spring Bluegrass Festival will take place on the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Brooksville, FL from March 23 - 27, 2016. This year's festival features five national bands, workshops, food and craft vendors, bingo, jams, open stage, karaoke, and much more. Since the event takes place on Easter weekend, a special Sunday morning service will feature gospel artists Debbie Domer and nationally known gospel group the Dixie Echoes. The setting, a large grove of live oak trees, is one of the prettiest around. As we move from winter into spring, it's a good time to move into the shade of these wonderful trees for Florida festivals. 

The Lineup
Marty Raybon

Florida native son Marty Raybon has become a national figure in both country and bluegrass music. His current reunion tour with Shenandoah has been a huge success. Meanwhile, he's always welcome at bluegrass festivals with his very fine bluegrass band, where he can always be counted on for a lively and entertaining show.

The Performance Area


Dry Branch Fire Squad

Dry Branch Fire Squad has had significant changes in its personnel, which has led to an increase in their energy and enthusiasm. Meanwhile, bluegrass's resident humorist and storyteller continues to skewer the pretentiousness of others while providing amusing and insightful tales of music and the world of country folk in a larger environment. This is one of the few bands that can perform for two days without repeating itself.

Shaded Camping

Mountain Faith

Mountain Faith catapulted to national attention while reaching the semi-finals of America's Got Talent last summer. Begun as primarily a gospel bluegrass band, Mountain Faith has expanded its repertoire while maintaining its insistence of representing their background and beliefs. The addition of Cory Piatt to the band proved itself to provide significant stimulus to the drive and enthusiasm of the band. Summer McMahon has consistently become a stronger and more confident singer. You'll enjoy this band if you haven't seen them before.


Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road

With it's most recent recording, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road has made a strong turn toward bluegrassed versions of country music, enlisting a host of aging country stars to bolster her more than adequate band's efforts.

Remington Ryde
Picture by Bill Warren

Remington Ryde is a Pennsylvania-based bluegrass band, which also sponsors its own festival each summer in Centre Hall, PA. They will be appearing on Friday and Saturday.

Penny Creek

Penny Creek, under the leadership of Susan Pounds, has emerged as one of the better Florida-based bluegrass bands. Flat-picker Christopher Paganoni has been a huge addition to this band with his singing and songwriting, as well as his fine guitar. The band, which has recently released its first CD, is lively and has a good time while producing solid singing and instrumentals.

 Emcee - Jo Odom

Back Porch Pickers

The Back Porch Pickers, located in Istachatta, Florida are primarily a gospel bluegrass band featuring Jan Ladd and Marilee Dove Martinson,, which has been singing together for over fifteen years. 

Greg Bird

Easter Sunday Sunrise Service
Debbie Domer

Debbie Domer conducts a ministry featuring preaching and singing which appears to be mostly centered in Florida, although she originated in Ohio and is broadly experienced. Many examples of her singing and puppet ministry can be found on YouTube. 

The Dixie Echoes

The Dixie Echoes are a highly thought of southern gospel quartet. One commentator of their performance in the 2015 at the Naitonal Quartet Convention commented, "How refreshing to hear just the voices accompanied by piano and bass guitar. The group showcased a new tenor on the quartet classic, 'Hide though Me.' And Randy can still get it done vocally with a song like 'How Great Thou Art.'" The Dixie Echoes have been in existence for over fifty years and have released seventy albums. 

Together, Debbie Domer and the Dixie Echoes should provide plenty of music and worship for Easter morning. 

Ernie & Debi at the Gate

The Details

Tickets: The Early Bird period has passed. Four day tickets at the gate cost $60.00 with individual day tickets available as well as offering a deep discount for children ages 10 - 15 of $15.00 for a full four day ticket. Children nine and under are free. Camping with water and electric costs $23.00/day and dry camping (in a beautiful glade) costs $13.00. You can order tickets by phone at g (904) 886-8378 or send checks to: Ernie Evans 6143 Sabre Drive Jacksonville, FL 32244. You can view the full flyer here

How to Get To Sertoma Youth Ranch
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Ernie Evans