Monday, November 16, 2015

YeeHaw Bluegrass at Okeechobee Agri-Civic Fairgrounds - January 21 - 23, 2016

Ernie and Debbie Evans of Evans Media Source have announced that the YeeHaw Bluegrass Festival will be held from January 21 - 23, 2016, despite earlier false reports of its cancellation.  While this reinvigorated festival is still a work in progress, a contract has been signed with the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Fairgrounds and gates will open on Monday, January 18th. Tickets are currently on sale and can be ordered through Ernie's Web site.

Ernie Evans wrote, "Before we update you on the 2016 Bluegrass Festival at Yeehaw Junction, Debi and I want to let you know how much we appreciate all of the support. We are very motivated at the interest the bluegrass community has shown in continuing the tradition of bluegrass at Yeehaw. When the announcement was made of it going away in 2015 we were saddened to hear it. Shortly after that, we were hired by the property owner, Beverly Zicheck, to come in and continue its almost 30 year legacy. We accepted and went to work lining things up. We quickly became friends with Beverly and made several trips to visit her, and put in many hours cultivating the market to do all we could to keep Yeehaw alive. 

"Mid way through the year we received sad news that cancer had once again reared its nasty head and would soon take our new friend. Her death from pancreatic cancer was untimely and it really hurt to see her going through such a painful process. We spent many nights talking about beating cancer and doing all we could to stay positive. Unfortunately, she lost her battle in August. I want everyone to know that it was her wish to continue the festival. She even wanted to have the pasture transformed into an RV Park. 

"It's unknown if she ever got her vision completed with her attorney in time to be put in the will. The estate's attorney told me that Beverly's estate is tied up and many attorneys are involved, describing it as a mess. He then went on to say it could be years before things are resolved and until they are, he would not permit any liability on the property. 

"Since Beverly's passing we have been trying to find a solution, including relocation. We have visited four other facilities which could not meet our needs. Contrary to rumors of the cancellation, we never gave up! We always felt responsible, and still are responsible to our customers, whom we have developed trust with, to contact them all individually to explain what was going on and not notify them through social media, which would have been careless and unprofessional. We owe them more than that. It was only a few weeks ago that we had decided to give everyone their money back because we felt we were out of time for a solution. This has been a tedious process, but necessary to keep the trust that we value so deeply. We are proud to announce that the City of Okeechobee has embraced us and provided our new home. This is very exciting and we can't wait to fire up the sound system to kick off another season of YeeHaw Junction."

Details about purchasing tickets are on the new flyer, reproduced above. The site is the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center located near enough to downtown Okeechobee to permit shopping and eating at local restaurants, and far enough away to provide a sense of being in the country. The site contains a number of full hookup sites, additional electric/water sites and almost unlimited space for rough camping along with flush toilets, hot showers and a covered building to provide plenty of space for performance and more. Send ticket requests to:  Ernie Evans, 6143 Sabre Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32244, or call Ernie & Debi for further information at (904) 886-8378.

Inside the Shed

The spacious grounds provide plenty of room for extensive camping, some nooks and crannies for places to jam, even if there's questionable weather, and more. The average high temperature in Okeechobee for mid-January is about 75 degrees, while average lows seldom dip below 50 at night. Probability of precipitation in January is about 10 percent.

The lineup for YeeHaw Junction is still in the process of being built. At this time confirmed bookings include Nothin Fancy (Thursday and Friday), Gary Waldrep (Friday and Saturday) as well as local bands Penny Creek, Blue Cypress Bluegrass, Swinging Bridge, and Hwy 41 South. More bands are still being booked. The gates open on Monday, January 18. Jo Odom will be the emcee. A welcome feature of Ernie and Deb Evans productions has become the provision of activities which, during the week of the festival, include jams, square dancing, evening performances, open microphone opportunities, bingo, FaceBook Face-to-Face meet and greets, and a covered dish get-together. As planning continues, look for all of these features. 

It's time now to show that the spirit that has animated YeeHaw Junction for nearly a generation still exists, whatever the actual physical location. We have looked forward to making this festival the first stop on our annual winter excursion to Florida to escape the cold and snow of New Hampshire. Join us to experience the joys of YeeHaw Junction in this exciting new venue where the festival spirit will once again assemble in Florida for the beginning of the 2016 season.

Deb Evans

Ernie Evans

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