The thirteenth annual Palatka Bluegrass Festival, presented by Norman Adams as a benefit for the Rodeheaver Boys Ranch, will run this year from February 16 - 18, 2017 at the Rodeheaver Boys Ranch a few miles south of Palatka in northeastern Florida. The largest bluegrass festival held in Florida, it will feature many of the top stars in bluegrass music in the covered pavilion on the ranch grounds. The campground, with over 500 water/electric sites is conveniently located, an easy walk from the pavilion and serviced by a shuttle for people not wishing to walk. A corral is also beside the pavilion to make it easy for those who bring their golf carts.
Jerry Foran & the Bluegrass
Jerry Foran has, apparently, been around for quite some time touring with a variety of bands from the 1970's through 1992, when he retired from the road to Florida. He's now reconstituted his band singing bluegrass and gospel bluegrass as a band called the Bluegrass Revolution.. He's opening this year's Palatka.
is a local band located in Melbourne, FL where they have played twice a week for about a decade. Band leader Susan Pounds has grown the band and its sound, adding increasingly able players as they have come available. With the addition of Trevor Klutz on fiddle to join Fritz Kraemer on mandolin, Penny Creek emerges as a full sounding, well rounded bluegrass band ready to move on to bigger venues and a larger radius of performance areas. This will be their second appearance in the professional lineup at Palatka
The Little Roy & Lizzy Show
Little Roy Lewis is a throwback to an earlier day in bluegrass when bluegrass gospel bands combined their evangelical fervor with baggy pants comedy reminiscent of vaudeville and minstrel shows. He's a classic clown as well as a consummate musician, often underestimated because of his clowning. Lizzy Long, Little Roy's protege, has developed into a multi-instrumentalist and a solid singer as well as a comic in her own right. The band plays hard driving bluegrass with an act that might seem dated, unless you understand the importance of a figure like Little Roy, who began performing with his family's band in the 1950's. The band is widely popular for its historical value and its gospel music.
Feller & Hill
Tom Feller and Chris Hill have consistently improved their band with judicious personnel changes. With the recent addition of Tony Holt giving them another connection to the Boys of Indiana, they have added a seasoned vocalist. The band specializes in the work of Tom's uncle Aubrey Holt, Tony's dad as well as the music and spirit of Buck Owens. They always give a strong account of themselves.
Jackson, Cordle, & Salley
Three of bluegrass, country and gospel music's most prominent singer/songwriter/performers have joined together to present a show featuring each of them singing his own music with the other two as backup singers and musicians. Beyond penning hits, they've each won plenty of awards, including Grammy's. All three men are personable, and enjoy sharing their music with receptive audiences. This show is a treat that's been seen and appreciated widely.
Del McCoury Band (One Show)
represents both a connection to the founders of bluegrass, having been a Blue Grass Boy with Bill Monroe, and looking forward into the future as the content of his music and the venues where he chooses to deliver it, offering traditional music in distinctly non-traditional venues...and they love it! Del McCoury has taken his music to places like Bonnaroo, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and his own DelFest and played with bands as different as the electric gospel band The Lee Boys and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans, while continuing to play at bluegrass festivals. A members of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, he is also a Grammy winning performer. Don't miss this show.
Lots of Jamming
Deeper Shade of Blue
Jason Fraley & Troy Pope
North Carolina may produce more bluegrass pickers and more bands than any other state, no...region, in the country. Many pickers come from this state and countless bands reside there. Bands emerge from this roiling environment to achieve success, having survived a demanding competition. Deeper Shade of Blue
was just beginning a little more than a decade ago when we saw them at the Rivertown Bluegrass Society in Conway SC. Snce then, they have emerged as one of the best bands in the state and begun to tour more widely. They play traditional bluegrass and a good deal of music created by band members.
The Spinney Brothers
Allan and Rick Spinney have become welcome additions to many bluegrass festivals across the country, coming to them from their home in Nova Scotia. They bring a Canadian sense of earnestness along with their deep respect for traditional bluegrass and country music, home and family. They sing familiar older songs and contemporary ones, some of the best written by Mark Brinkman and Dixie Hall.
Dry Branch Fire Squad
Ron Thomason is bluegrass music's resident philosopher, social commentator, and humorist. As the leader of Dry Branch Fire Squad, he has told stories, spun yarns, and spread traditional bluegrass along with old-time gospel music far and wide. His monologues and ham-boning (if you don't know what that is, just wait) are renowned and revered at the many major festivals where the band is a regular.
Tony Shorter & Mike Andes
Nothin' Fancy has grown as a band and consciously moved itself up to another level within the hierarchy of bands. The addition, about a year ago of young Caleb Cox on guitar, Dobro, and lead and harmony vocals, gives the band the best guitar player/singer it's ever had. Chris Sexton's virtuosity on fiddle, along with Andes' song writing, singing and leadership helps create a new synergy that works. They've given up some of their silliness, while not losing their sense of humor. This band should now be recognized as a welcome addition anywhere.
The Gibson Brothers
The Gibson Brothers have had nine consecutive CD's reach number one on the Bluegrass Unlimited charts. Their new album called "In the Ground" is their first recording made up exclusively of songs they have written. It's their much awaited second release from Rounder Records. Twice IBMA Entertainers of the Year and Song of the Year for Ring the Bell and They Called It Music, as well as other awards, they have proven themselves to be of lasting quality. Furthermore, the brother banter between Eric and Leigh is treasured by the many fans of their live performances.
Dailey & Vincent (one show)
Dailey and Vincent were founded in 2007 to wide approval, making one of their earliest appearances at Palatka in February of 2008. The two graduated from major bands (Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder for Darren Vincent and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver for Jamie Dailey) had planned carefully, mapping out precisely the kind of show band they wished to have. A decade later, they have appeared in places they never expected when they first hit the Trail and this year were inducted as members of the Grand Old Opry. They have successfully combined bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and country music into a stunningly successful recording and performing career.
Friday at Palatka may turn out to offer one of the finest days of bluegrass music you will ever experience!
The Spinney Brothers
Dry Branch Fire Squad
The Gary Waldrep Band
Gary Waldrep comes from the Rural Sand Mountain region of northeastern Alabama, where he learned his deep faith and his traditional bluegrass music. He plays fine banjo, both Scruggs style and Clawhammer, while he dances and sings. Mindy Rakestraw, on harmony and lead vocals as well as rhythm guitar, is reliable and high quallity, while Micky Boles is a whirling dervish of high energy on mandolin. The band, well known in the South, has been popular there for years.
Coming from western North Carolina, in the heart of the Smokey Mountains, Balsam Range sings about many aspects of rural life, the mountains, farming, paper factories and more. They bring to the many songs they write the various musical influences affecting their lives - bluegrass, country, rock & roll, and gospel music. The band has four singers, giving them a range of vocal colors and five fine instrumentalists. Band spokesman Tim Surrett and mandolinist Darren Nicholson provide much of the humor. Named IBMA Entertainer of the Year once and Vocal Group of the Year twice as well as garnering several other awards, this band has catapulted into prominence, and promises to keep itself in your consciousness.
Rhonda Vincent and the Rage
Rhonda Vincent has been a consummate entertainer and a major draw at festivals, both large and small, for many years. She has consistently built her excellent band, adding strength at every position. She has garnered the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year award eight times, most recently in 2015 as well as Entertainer of the Year. The addition of her most recent son-in-law Brent Burke and her daughter Sally Berry has continued the building process. Perhaps less noticed is that Rhonda is one of the finest and most reliable harmony singers around. Her appearance on a number of bluegrass and country recordings provides musical testimony to this. You'll get a good sample of this as she shares the closing set on Saturday with country singer Daryle Singletary. Finally, Rhonda is one of the hardest working artists anywhere, staying at her merch table until the last fan has shaken her hand or had a picture taken.
Daryle Singletary (one show with
has a pleasant stage personality and a comfortable baritone country voice. He made his greatest impact on country music during the 1990's with top forty Hot Country Songs on the Billboard chars like I Let Her Lie
and Amen Kind of Love
. Recently, he has found a welcoming outreach from bluegrass music, where there's a great appreciation for classic country sounds. Unlike many country personalities, he seems comfortable with meeting and greeting the bluegrass audience and being seen around the grounds of a festival. He will be closing the festival with a single ninety minute set on Saturday on which Rhonda Vincent will be joining him.
A Wernick Style Jam Camp
will be presented by Gilbert Nelson
during the festival. For people who are "closet" pickers, these jam camps will introduce you to the principles of jamming and provide you with opportunities to pick in an accepting learning environment suitable for beginner and novice people who wish to participate in jamming, one of the cornerstones of the bluegrass experience.
Norman Adams has put together a very strong and balanced bluegrass festival at a venue which is used to very good shows and big crowds. This year's edition stands out.
Norman & Judy Adams
Rodeheaver Boys’ Ranch
380 Boys' Ranch Road
Palatka, FL 32177
The Rodeheaver Boys Ranch
, founded in 1950 by musical evangelist Homer Rodeheaver houses about fifty boys who, for a variety of reasons, can no longer live in their homes. The boys live in a family environment in ten houses staffed by house parents, where they learn good study and work habits as well as the values of the ranch and attend the local public school, . The ranch's motto is: It Is Better to Build Boys Than to Mend Men.
Tickets: General Admission Adult
35 - per day in advance
40 - per day at the gate
85 - 3 days in advance
90 - 3 days at the gate
General Admission Child
- per day
45 - 3 days in advance
50 - 3 days at the gate
Children under 7 free with
*Credit card orders
will incur a
small processing fee of $3
per 3 day ticket and $2 per daily ticket and child's ticket.
Camping: Camping available onsite
with 500 plus sites. Call The Boys Ranch @ 386-328-1281 to make
reservations. The campground is very large. There are still spaces available. The Ranch provides a shuttle for those who find the distances daunting, while a corral is available at the performance shed for golf carts.
Food & Concessions: A variety of food and shopping options are available on site. The ranch dining room provides breakfast and dinner at reasonable prices. Just behind the performance shed there is a snack bar selling burgers, hot dogs, and the best Brunswick Stew I've ever had. Commercial vendors offer ice cream, barbecue, coffee and more.
Ranch Headquarters - Dining Room
You can view the festival flyer here
A seating diagram is included as well as information about the kind of seating appropriate for this festival. NO HIGH BACKS or EXTRA WIDE SEATS are allowed!
How to Get to The Palatka Bluegrass Festival
Click on the Map Here Then Input Your Address
in the O Space
If you're a Facebook friend of mine or Irene's and we haven't met you yet, please stop us to say hello. We always enjoy making face-to-face acquaintance with you. See you there!