EDEN, N.C. — Bluegrass musician Tony Rice occupies a lofty status. Like Elvis in his genre, Rice is the king of flatpick guitar.
Festival organizers say they want to celebrate and give back to their neighbor, who is suffering from a condition that has left him unable to play, according to the Tony Rice Foundation. Tickets are no longer available for a dinner with Rice but festival seating for a concert dubbed “An Evening with Tony,” which begins at 7:30 p.m., are $15 per person and will feature bluegrass singer, songwriter and guitarist Brandon Lee Adams.
“For decades, Tony has shared his talents with us all, and now we have an opportunity to show our appreciation for all he’s done to brighten our world with his beautiful music,” according to the festival website.
The festival’s namesake was a member of the North Carolina Ramblers, one of the most popular string bands of the 1920s and had a great influence on the development of bluegrass and modern country music. Poole, who was a textile mill worker in Spray (now Eden), is greatly responsible for popularizing the banjo and created a unique three-finger playing style, according to the website.
On Friday beginning at 5 p.m., Grammy-winning master musician and storyteller David Holt, who is the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, will perform in addition to Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the South Carolina Broadcasters. All-day competitions plus a dance featuring The Hushpuppies with caller Aaron Ratcliffe are on tap for Saturday.
The festival is a project of Piedmont Folk Legacies Inc., a non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting and preserving the musical and cultural legacy of the region.
Festival tickets are $15 for Friday and Saturday each or $25 for both days. The park is located at 422 Church St. Camping is available on the grounds of the historic Spray Cotton Mills, where Poole worked, and free for festival attendees.
For more information, visit http://charlie-poole.com/
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