The Kruger Brothers will be featured as the headlining act at this year’s Elkin Valley Fiddlers By The River traditional roots music festival scheduled May 10, beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing until 7 p.m., at the Elkin Municipal Park.
Director of the Foothills Art Council and Event Coordinator Leighanne Wright said organizers expect around 500 people to show up this year.
Wright said they were fortunate to get The Kruger Brothers as this year’s headliner. It is only the second year of organizing the traditional roots festival. Wright said the seeds planted last year were fruitful and has brought continued popularity.
Musician in the band, Jens Kruger, was named as the fourth recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music. He is known for creative banjo composition and performance in a musical style and a blending of folk music with European classical music.
Kruger is the first North Carolina resident and first winner born outside of the United States to receive the award. The Kruger Brothers have been called by some as one of the most innovative groups in the world, and play with a style that fuses jazz and classical with the traditional music of Appalachia.
The Elkin Valley Fiddlers is an associate member of the Foothills Arts Council. Wright said after The Kruger Brothers agreed to perform, “the organizers went into high gear to secure a bigger area for the festival and are thankful that Adam McComb of Elkin’s Recreation and Parks Department has been so helpful.”
Wright said the festival draws a lot of the big name musicians with a lot of talent that comes directly from the concentration of talent found in the local regions. “It is going to be a good time.”
Wright designed the poster for the festival taking her inspiration from a Woodstock print. “It just sort of hit me, I looked up and saw a poster from Woodstock and did a shameless imitation.” Instead of a guitar and a white bird, Wright’s rendition pictures a fiddle and a cardinal, the state bird of North Carolina. Instead of the three days of peace and music, Wright’s states eight hours.
Also as part of the festivities, a By The River Contra Dance will take place on Friday at the Elkin Recreation Center located at 399 N.C. 268 West from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Featured music for the dance will be played by the Bridgemakers and caller will be Emily Abel. Though it is free to get in, there is a suggested donation of $5.
Contra dancing is a form of American folk dance in which the dancers form a set of two parallel lines running the length of the room and progress down the line through a series of dance moves. The contra style of dance was fashionable in the 1800s.
Wright said the group has been organizing contra dances to fiddling and old-time music throughout the last couple of years with a goal to do them every quarter. “If you can walk, you can contra dance. It is great fun and easy to do.”
Bluegrass, blues and old-time music and jamming going on all day Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Throughout the day, a packed performance schedule with bands playing traditional roots music will bring in a variety of stringed music from regional musicians and something for every music fan. Chris Carter of Beyond the Blue will be running the sound all day.
In addition to the bands on stage, there will be a jamming tent. Attendees can visit the tent with their instruments and join in the jam. Roving judges will be awarding pies to those participating in the jamming, said Wright.
The first band performance will begin with The Elkin Creek Boys, who plays bluegrass with classic country mix, from 11 to 11:30 a.m.
From 11:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., Gaining Ground will perform bluegrass. From 12:20 to 12:50 p.m., Luke Mears will perform the blues. From 1 to 2 p.m., Beyond the Blue will perform bluegrass gospel. From 2:10 to 2:40 p.m., Mountain Heritage will perform bluegrass. From 3 to 3:30 p.m., the Bridgemakers will perform old-time music. At 3:40 to 4:10 p.m., Not Your Ordinary will play funk blues/bluegrass rock. At 4:10 to 4:40 p.m., Joe Thrift and the Country Store will play old-time. At 4:40 to 5:20 p.m., Zephyr Lightning Bolts will perform old-time music.
The grand finale will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and will be music from The Kruger Brothers.
Wright said anyone wishing to purchase an exclusive Elkin Valley Fiddlers T-shirt can send $12 to the Foothills Arts Council with their size and contact information by April 14. Shirts will be on sale during the event, but the cost will be $15 and sizes will be limited. The shirt will have the pictured poster artwork designed by Wright on the back with the Elkin Valley Fiddlers logo on the front. For more information, visit www.foothillsartscouncil.org/elkin-valley-fiddlers.
This year’s organizers include Barry Carlton, Nancy Gould, Charlotte Reynolds, Caroline Blackmon, David Blackmon, Cory Myers, Debbie Carson, Bill Blackley and Wright.
Sponsors of the event include the Winston-Salem Foundation, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, Surry County Tourism Development Authority, The Reeves Theater/R House Productions, Dr. Steve and Linda Erlandson, Yadkin Valley General Store, and others.
As part of its sponsorship, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital will be manning a first aid tent at the festival all day on Saturday. Physicians will be on hand to assess any needs and the hospital will be giving out sunscreen, water and other items to aid in the comfort of attendees.
Admission is free with a $5 parking fee, which is a fundraiser for the Elkin Athletic Foundation, and there will be food vendors on site. Canned and bottled drinks will be sold by Boy Scout Troop 648 as a split fundraiser for the troop and the Elkin Valley Fiddlers.
No smoking or pets are allowed in the festival area of the park. Attendees should bring chairs or blankets.
RV parking (without hook-ups) for the Elkin Valley Fiddlers music festival on May 10 is available for a small fee at the maintenance building site on Memorial Park Dr.
Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.