02 September 2014

A historic bluegrass site - ripe for restoration?

Art Menius is an honours history graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a prolific bluegrass writer, and a major administrator in bluegrass and other arts - among many other accomplishments, he was the first executive director of the IBMA and a member of its board; was board member and president of the Old-Time Music Group, publishers of the Old-Time Herald; and is currently a board member of the Folk Alliance International.

On Sunday last, Art posted on his blog 'A visit to a lost bluegrass music temple' - the deserted, vandalised, and overgrown remains of Blue Grass Park in North Carolina, established as a festival venue in 1969 by the legendary promoter Carlton Haney (1928-2011). The photo above - by Art's wife, bluegrass photographer Becky Johnson - gives a distant view of the stage:

Where thousands saw New Grass Revival for the first time, where Tony Rice jumped ship from Bluegrass Alliance to J.D. Crowe, where Carlton told the Blue Grass Story, where Bill Vernon and Fred Bartenstein emceed, looked like a burned out mobile home.

Art's account has become the most popular post ever to appear on his blog. It includes more photos and some rewarding links to material relating to the early days of bluegrass festivals - together with the hope that Blue Grass Park may be restored and live again as a venue and a tourist attraction for the area. Read it here.

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