Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sertoma Spring Bluegrass Festival: March 21- 25, 2018 - Preview

The 41st Sertoma Spring Bluegrass Festival will run from March 21st - March 25th at the Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville, FL with the strongest lineup the festival has had in many years. In 2014, when Ernie & Deb Evans agreed to add this festival to their stable of events, it was on its last legs. The Board of Directors was considering shutting it down. This year's lineup, headlining two of bluegrass music's top bands: The Gibson Brothers and Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. Each band represents a different era of bluegrass history, but both share a common thread of melody, tradition, and commitment. With the exception of 2016, when the festival fell on Easter weekend, Sertoma has grown each year, with this year being the biggest ever.

Gibson Brothers

The Gibson Brothers have been touring for over twenty years, but their greatest accomplishments have come in this century. Their combination of nostalgic vision of rural life with the frequent tragedies that arise when tradition clashes with progress merge with a deep respect for the traditions from which they come to create a unique sound. While perceived as an instant success, Eric and Leigh have been performing as The Gibson Brothers for about thirty years, since they were teenagers. The awards started in 1998 with IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year. They were named Entertainer of the Year in 2012 and 2013, along with song, song writing a vocal group of the year awards. A significant addition to their charm is their interaction between the songs, seen in the video clip below. 

Gibson Brothers - Three Song Medley

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Doyle Lawson was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2012, capping off a career of over fifty years in bluegrass and gospel music. Seven times Vocal Group of the Year, with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Lawson himself spend significant time with many of the classic bands of all time: Jimmy Martin, J.D. Crowe & the New South, and The Country Gentlemen, before forming his own ground breaking band. Graduates of the Doyle Lawson School of Bluegrass Music can be found in major bands everywhere. His place in bluegrass music's history is assured. 

Big Eight Wheeler

Grand Finale after the Gibson Brothers (Saturday)
Tribute to Buck Owens

As an added attraction on Saturday night will be a band playing a tribute to the great Buck Owens with Greg Blake, vocalist for Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, as featured vocalist. Other pickers from the Saturday night show will be featured in this exciting band.

Greg Blake

Nothin Fancy

Nothin' Fancy has been traveling the bluegrass trail, with very few personnel changes for over twenty years. They have become well-loved and successful through constant touring while building their repertoire and providing entertaining byplay as well as good singing and instrumental performance. The recent addition of the Cox brothers, Caleb on guitar, dobro, or mandolin as well as harmony vocals and first-rate song writing, has had a significant effect on the band's musicality and humor. Meanwhile, his younger brother James, on bass, is already showing his high quality. Chris Sexton, a classically trained violinist, is a versatile, thoughtful, and humorous fiddler. Mitchell Davis on banjo is solid as well as a frequent butt of some stage business. Nothin' Fancy has earned the dignity of being taken seriously as a first rate musical and entertaining band. 


The Dave Adkins Band

Dave Adkins has spent some time maturing into his current role as a bluegrass singer with a strong country bent. He did his time in bluegrass and Nashville, before discovering who he was musically. But the time has been well-spent, and Dave Adkins emerges as an exciting performer whose body language and native enthusiasm tells you everything. 

The Dave Adkins Band - Put Some Grass In It

Jeff Scroggins & Colorado

Jeff Scroggins has been a musician since his early years, maturing as an instrumentalist in a number of genres during the 1980's. When he became obsessed with the banjo, he was lucky enough to come under the influence of Alan Munde, legendary head of the the bluegrass program at South Plains College in Texas and one of the great banjo players. His current band has been attracting well-deserved increasing attention. Fiddler Ellie Hakanson and his son Tristan, a fiery mandolin player, have both been awarded Momentum Awards at IBMA, a recognition for up-and-coming young musicians. Greg Blake is a powerful singer and guitar player. If you haven't seen this band yet, you're in for a treat.

Jeff Scroggins & Colorado - Mama Tried

Darrell Webb Band

The last few times we've seen the Darrell Webb Band, his work has been very impressive. He returns this year to Sertoma with three returning or new members in his band. Jarred Hensley has been a regular band member for several years. He's a fine flat-picker. Darrell Webb has long been recognized as a very talented mandolin player and singer of both traditional and newer music. He's dynamic and personable. During his career Darrell has performed with some of the biggest names in bluegrass with distinction. 


Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road

Lorraine Jordan has a big heart and big ambition. Her entrepreneurial efforts have given her an opportunity to have high impact. Her recent project of showcasing classic country artists and their music in a bluegrass format has yielded crowd pleasing results while helping revive the careers of several aging country singers. Singer guitarist Tommy Long has returned to the band after a successful bout with cancer. Josh Goforth brings diversity and multiple talents with his mountain music influence.  

Boogie Grass Band

Williamson Branch

Williamson Branch is a Nashville-based, primarily gospel bluegrass band. They sell their show hard and earned the appreciation of many at the Florida Bluegrass Classic. They've been heavily tasked at Sertoma.

Hey Good Lookin'

Alligator Alley

Alligator Alley is a bluegrass band from South Florida. In addition to their stage performances, they have been designated as the band to lead jams at EMS festivals. At Sertoma, they will have a tent, out of hearing from the main stage, where jams will be held late into the night...even into the wee morning hours. They bring zest and enthusiasm to wherever they are. 

Broward County

The Sertoma Scene

A production from Evans Media Sourch features much more than simply coming to the shows at the main stage. Each day is designed to provide a series of activities for those interested in them. Ernie and Debi are dedicated to widening the options available, and have hired an acitivies director to help assure that there's plenty going on. Here's a quick overview, but take a look at the online schedule to get times and locations.



Covered Dish Supper

Wednesday: Bingo, Corn Hole Tournament, Pot Luck Supper, Greg Bird's Open Mic and Karaoke
Thursday: Bingo, Shows
Friday: Workshops, Shows
Saturday: Workshops, Williamson Branch EMS on Kids,  Shows
SundayL Sunday Morning Gospel Sing

Food and Craft Vendors are available. In addition, Sertoma Youth Ranch operates a snack bar offering food from hot dogs and fries to full meals. They also sell beer on site. 

Tickets can be obtained by calling EMS at (904)886-8378 or ordered online at the EMS web site where you can also see a range of ticket prices. 

You can email Evans Media Source at 

Camping can also be arranged through EMS at the rate of $25.00/day for water and electric sites or $13.00/day for dry camping. The campground is set in a lovely live oak grove with plenty of shade. There is a spacious rest room and shower facility with lots of hot water. The park has recently renovated the rest rooms near the stage. 



Sertoma Youth Ranch is located at: 85 Myers Road, Brooksville, FL. Here's how you get there:
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The Sertoma Bluegrass Festival has become an solid bluegrass festival offering top bands along with creating and maintaining a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The Ernie and Debi Evans have employed a regular cast to provide continuity between events and help create an experience rather than just a music festival. If you haven't been to this one, or aren't sure you really like bluegrass, give it a try. You won't regret it.

See you there!

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