Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Florida Bluegrass Classic - Brooksville, FL - Feb 20 - 25, 2018

Evans Media Source presents The Florida Bluegrass Classic a bluegrass and classic country festival, at the Classic Park in Brooksville, FL running from February 20-25, 2018 featuring activities and music from Tuesday through Sunday filled with fun, fellowship, song, celebration. Held in memory of Florida bluegrass artist Roscoe Canaday, this is the third year this festival has been held in Brooksville, having moved from its former home in Waldo, FL. In addition to the music, the event will feature a display of Classic Cars and a tribute to our Veterans with an appropriate memorial.

The Lineup
TG Sheppard (Sat)

T.G. Sheppard had fourteen hits on the U.S. country charts during the 1980's, including eight consecutive ones between 1980 and 1982. His love of country music was so deep he dropped out of high school at age fifteen to run off to Nashville to become a part of the music scene there. Sheppard made his biggest impact with the pop country sounds of the early eighties, his last number one hit with Strong Heart. He continues to tour throughout the nation and to release new albums. His appearance at The Bluegrass Classic, continues the pattern that Ernie Evans has established of inviting major touring country musicians from the eighties and nineties to perform at what have, in the past, been seen as primarily bluegrass only. This fusion has become popular with his audience and spread the Evans Media Source brand more broadly, bringing country artists to bluegrass and introducing bluegrass fans to a more diverse musical palette. 

I Loved Them Every One

The Atlantic City Boys (Sat)

The Atlantic City Boys return to an EMS festival after their rousing appearance at YeeHaw Junction last year. Playing rock and roll songs from the days of male quartets like The Drifters, The Four Seasons, Frankie Valle, The Four Seasons, The BeeGees, the Rat Pack, and even the Beatles, delivering high energy musical excitement backed by a recorded track. Their charm, humor, and warmth permeate their show with good feelings, especially for audiences who treasure music of the era. They have performed from Atlantic City to Las Vegas to Disney World where audiences of young and old who treasure good singing and fun have made them popular enough to support multiple touring groups. 

Atlantic City Boys

Nothin Fancy (Th & Fri)

Nothin' Fancy has been touring large and small bluegrass festivals across the nation for over twenty years, bringing strong singing, fine instrumental work, and good fun to audiences who love both their music and their humor. With much of their original music written by mandolinist Mike Andes, one of the group's founders, Nothin' Fancy has been remarkably stable over the years. They are popular with bluegrass audiences everywhere. 


Larry Gillis - Classic Country Show (Tu)

Larry Gillis comes from the swamps of southern Georgia, where his "Swampgrass" version of gritty, emotion-filled bluegrass music emerged and he is one of the foremost practitioners. He has recently become  a favored interpreter of the music of Merle Haggard and other hard-edged country musicians. His music has become increasingly popular as he merges country and bluegrass music into a crossover music with its own flavor and feel. 

Mary's Offering

Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road (Sat)

Lorraine Jordan comes from the part of North Carolina where the Piedmont blends into the Lowlands. She claims to bleed blue, and I believe it. Over the nearly twenty years that we've been watching her play traditional bluegrass while part of her is deeply imbued with country music, too. She hit the jackpot a couple of years ago when she asked a group of country music stars from the seventies and eighties to record with her bluegrass band. The resulting album merged as Country Grass, and opened a number of doors to this innovator who also brought together the "Ladies of Bluegrass" several years ago. Last year she appeared with Eddy Raven at The Bluegrass Classic, and she returns this year for another go 'round with her very capable band. 

Lorraine & Eddie Raven

Billy Droze (Fri & Sat)

Billy Droze began his career in country music, but has found a home and success in bluegrass. He has had four chart topping songs in the last year, bringing youth, enthusiasm, and a first rate knowledge of the two somewhat different manifestations of a music found in the great expanses of rural America. This is his second appearance at The Bluegrass Classic, where he was warmly received last year. We enjoyed his work later in the year at Dumplin Valley, where he was also a hit. As with many successful bluegrass artists, he's emerging in his early thirties as a first rate talent who tears down some barriers while maintaining a deep respect for the traditions of the music. 

Billy Droze - Better with Time

Kenny Stinson & Perfect Tym'n (Th)

Kenny Stinson comes from central Kentucky, about half way between Bowling Green and Nashville, TN, a pretty good place for a bluegrass career to be nurtured. Getting his start as a professional musician in gospel music more than thirty years ago, he later switched to primarily bluegrass where he played for the likes of Jimmy Martin and and J.D. Crowe, as well as the likes of Gary Waldrep and James Monroe. He formed his own band in 2008, after a break from music to raise a family and make a living. His current band is populated with members of his family and long-time music friends. I look forward to seeing him for the first time. 

Williamson Branch (Fri & Sat)

Williamson Branch is a family band which resides in Nashville, although they apparently travel widely on tour, with a heavy emphasis on singing in churches and local venues. 

Phil Leadbetter, Richard Bennet & the Walker Brothers (Sat)

Phil Leadbetter and Richard Bennett have been touring together with the band Flashback, taking a look backward at the music of the great J.D. Crowe while contributing new and varied material to complement it. They are joined on this tour with two of Florida's most well-known and well-loved young musicians, the Walker Brothers, Cory and Jarrod. Phil Leadbetter has twice been named IBMA Dobro player of the year, while Richard Bennett is not nearly as well known as such a fine guitarist and singer should be. You'll enjoy this show!

Richard Bennett

South Country Classic
Photo by Bill Warren

South Country Classic is an occasional band put together by Ernie Evans at festivals and on cruises made up of musicians available to play classic seventies and eighties country music at his festivals and on cruises. Often, when musicians in other bands playing a festival are available they are invited to the stage to join in the fun. 

 Penny Creek

Penny Creek comes from Melbourne, FL where they are the house band at a couple of local venues. The band's been playing at bluegrass festivals around the state for several years, while improving its lineup and becoming ever tighter with each change of personnel. This is an entertaining and enjoyable band. 
Penny Creek - Sunny Side of the Mountain

Activity Schedule

Evans Media Source festivals have take a new and innovative perspective to producing a festival, turning it from a three day performance-based extravaganza focusing almost solely on the stage shows, into a five day event modeled on the activities of a cruise. Each day, beginning when rigs arrive at the festival site, there are scheduled activities. Ernie Evans recently hired an activities director to broaden the activities, encourage more people to participate, and ensure that all are having a good time. 

Larry Gillis Classic Country Show
Square Dancing
Music Jam
Photo by Bill Warren
Stage Show
Music Workshops

Jam in the Pavilion
Photo by Bill Warren
Stage Show Noon - until....

Stage Show
Classic Car Show

Special Military Tribute

Children's Activities featuring Williamson Branch for Kids
Special Attraction

Sunday Morning Gospel Sing 
Jan Ladd

The Details

The Florida Classic Park is a large facility located near Brooksville, FL just off I-75. It was built primarily for dog shows, but is used for a variety of events. The Florida Bluegrass Classic is entering its fourth year in this park, which is well-adapted for music festival uses, with plenty of water & electric hookups, room for jams, a covered pavilion, flush toilets, and a portable shower facility. Since water pressure is low, I recommend you either arrive at the park with full tanks, or fill your fresh water tank on arrival and then disconnect from the standpipe. 

Under the Pavilion

Tickets: You can purchase tickets by ordering online or calling Evans Media Source at (904) 886-8378. A range of day ticket and full-festival prices is available here. A range of food and craft vendors is available to provide good choices. Of course, many people who attend bluegrass festivals are also RVers, and eating at your rig, joining together to eat with each other, or attending the Wednesday evening covered dish supper are all recommended option. A number of restaurants of varying price and quality are available nearby, as are motel facilities. A special rate is available at the nearby Days Inn if you mention the festival. 

Scrumptious Spread for Covered Dish Supper

How to Get to Florida Classic Park
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Evans Media Source has become known to its customers for providing a full-featured musical experience at each of its varied festivals. The environment is friendly and welcoming. The music at each festival has a somewhat different flavor and vibe, with the Florida Bluegrass Classic leaning more towards the classic country sound, while still providing plenty of bluegrass music. The festival environment will provide newcomers as well as those already quite familiar with the music a delightful experience. You'll feel welcome and have a wonderful time. Looking to see you there. 

Greg Bird - Karaoke and Evening Host

Jo Odum - Festival Emcee

Ernie & Debi Evans - Festival Promoters

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