By JAN WADDY
Read the full article here: http://www.newsherald.com/news/20180926/bluegrass-at-beach-music-food-trucks-family-fun
Panama City Beach music festival raises money for Boys & Girls Clubs
PANAMA CITY BEACH — Bluegrass at the Beach is ready to grow this weekend at its new home at Aaron Bessant Park with two days of music, square dancing, food trucks and old-fashioned family fun.
“Trinity River Band is the headliner for Friday night, and Twin Kennedy from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is the headliner for Saturday evening,” said Mike Burton, event promoter. “Billy Rader is emceeing the event both days. He’s going to do a little singing and tell jokes between sets; we’re excited about it.”
Bluegrass at the Beach is from 6-10 p.m. Friday, and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday. Musicians also include Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome, Frances Mooney & Fontanna Sunset, Judge Talford Band, Blue Holler, Kristi Stanley & Running Blind, The Wiseman Brothers, SwiftWater Band, and Melanie A. Davis.
“We have four new bands: Trinity River Band out of Northeast Florida, Melanie Davis from West Kentucky, The Judge Talford Band rockin’ bluegrass, and Kristi Stanley and Running Blind — she’s the relative of the famous Ralph Stanley,” Burton said. “All are members of the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association).”
Twin Kennedy, performing both nights, is a two-time Vancouver Island Music Awards winner for Country Recording and Song of the Year, John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize Winner (“Secondhand Gold”), 12 British Columbia County Music Association Award nominations and three-time Canadian Country Music Award (CCMA) nominee. Most recently, Twin Kennedy was nominated for the CCMA Roots Artist of the Year. The duo is comprised of sisters Carli Kennedy and Julie Kennedy, with Carli on vocals and guitar and Julie on vocals and violin.
“We are attracting tourists that would never come to Panama City because they are here for the beach. They had country music, rock and roll and jazz festivals on the beach, but they wanted to have bluegrass out there,” Burton said. “The TDC made a donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs and helped with national promotion. It also benefits them with putting heads in beds. It’s going to open the door for more performers to want to come here.”
The 11th annual festival benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bay County. Formerly named Gulf Coast Bluegrass & Folk Music Festival, the event was moved from Under the Oaks in Parker to the larger beach venue this year in hopes of raising more money for the club.
Bluegrass at the Beach
What: Live bluegrass and folk music, square dancing, free train rides for children, food trucks and craft vendors; fundraiser for Boys & Girls Clubs of Bay County
When: 6-10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29
Where: Aaron Bessant Park, 600 S. Pier Park Drive, Panama City Beach
Tickets: $20 per day or $30 for weekend; free for ages 12 and younger; available at EventBrite, BluegrassAtTheBeach.org or at the gate (same price)
Bring: Chairs and blankets
Details: 850-763-2076 or BluegrassAtTheBeach.org
“That’s our main focus — to raise money for our kids and provide scholarships for those who couldn’t afford childcare,” said Hank Hill, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bay County.
Since the Boys & Girls Clubs came on board in 2015, the event has raised $41,000 for the local organization.
“We served over 3,300 kids last year through different programs — community programs and the summer food program,” Hill said.
The Boys & Girls Clubs’ junior staff members will be selling drink concessions on Saturday to raise money for their teen programs. Other food vendors will be set up Friday and Saturday, including the Filipino American Association of Bay County, Temperley’s British Eatery, Gary’s Oyster Shack, Dovalina’s Wood Fired Pizza, Culver’s, It’s Tamale Time, Smok n Butts BBQ, and Dixieland Funnel Cakes.
A 12-by-24 stage also will be set up for square dancing with Tommy Jackson and the Rocky Top Revue square dancing team of Nashville, where they have performed at the Grand Ole Opry.
“A good fun team that not only square dances and clogs, but get audience participation,” Burton said. “At last year’s (festival), they got Chief Hutto, police chief in Parker, and they worked him out pretty good.”
Craft vendors include Teresa’s Sparkling Sensations, Mumpower Farms, Terra Bella Soaps, SC Crafts, Tina Louise Boutique, Bling by the Bay 2, Tastefully Simple, Southern Glitter Girls, Grandma Di’s Kettle Corn, Why Knot Crafts & More, SunniRae’s Boutique, Bill’s Deals, Cottage Collages, Soap Tree Emporium, and Mermaids and Moonbeams.
Children also can get on board for free train rides during the festival.
“The train is all cleaned up, and everything moving and ready to go,” said Burton, who built the train (which holds up to 10 children) before the 2016 festival. “I enjoy it, don’t get paid or anything. I volunteer to do this just because I love music. I’ve been a musician all my life, and my dad was a musician. Anything to do with music and I can be a part of, I’m happy. I work on this thing six or seven months ahead of the event.”
While Burton booked all of the entertainment this year, he is able to step back from this year’s technical aspects — light and sound — which are being handling by Mike Frimet of HMX Productions.
“It will be nicer; the green room is air-conditioned with his and her dressing rooms,” said Burton, who admitted this is a big change from the RV performers had in Parker. “Chili’s, O’Charley’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, Texas Roadhouse and PoFolks this year are all donating food to feed the 100-plus band members and their stage crew.”
By the Sea Resorts is providing hotel rooms for the bands this year.
Friday, Sept. 28
6-6:30 p.m.: Tommy Jackson & Rocky Top Revue (square dance team)
6:30-7:15 p.m.: SwiftWater Band (bluegrass music)
7:30-8:15 p.m.: Twin Kennedy (bluegrass/country music)
8:30-9:30 p.m.: Trinity River Band (bluegrass/Gospel music)
Saturday, Sept. 29
Noon to 12:30 p.m.: Tommy Jackson & Rocky Top Revue (square dance team)
12:30-1:15 p.m.: Melanie A. Davis (folk music)
1:30-2:15 p.m.: The Wiseman Brothers (bluegrass music)
2:30-3:15 p.m.: The Blue Holler (bluegrass music)
3:30-4:15 p.m.: Frances Mooney & Fontanna Sunset (bluegrass music)
4:15-5 p.m.: Tommy Jackson & Rocky Top Revue (bluegrass music)
5-5:45 p.m.: Judge Talford Band (bluegrass music)
6-6:45 p.m.: Kristi Stanley & Running Blind (bluegrass music)
7-7:45 p.m.: Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome (bluegrass music)
8-9 p.m.: Twin Kennedy (bluegrass/country music)