Douglas continued, “Little did I know that later in life he would be my friend.A s far as I’m concerned this festival named in his honor is far overdue. But I also believe that’s the way Earl would want it to be. We can only hope that we can make him proud in how we perceive his legacy to the world.”
Douglas, who started his group the Earls of Leicester as a tribute to Scruggs, will act as musician in resident for the festival.
Few other artists in American history have had such an impact as Scruggs, according to a festival press release. His work in 1946/47 with Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys and later with Flatt and Scruggs helped create an entire genre of music. His banjo playing was so fresh and different for the time that it was christened the “Scruggs style” of banjo and is still the most prominent banjo performance style in the world.
“Earl was my uncle, so I knew him a long time,” says JT Scruggs, a board member of the Earl Scruggs Center. “The first Earl Scruggs Music Festival presents an opportunity to bring exposure and new visitors to the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, North Carolina. The proceeds from the festival will also help to keep the center in good financial shape. The festival will bring great music and many different groups to the region. And I hope that people will hear things about Earl that they may have never heard before as all the artists share their personal stories. I know that Earl would be proud of what we are doing and that we are remembering him through the festival.”
Noah Wall of The Barefoot Movement grew up in North Carolina.
“I feel so lucky to have that in common with legends like Earl Scruggs,” he said. “He was such a trailblazer, not just a pioneer of bluegrass, but he also pushed the boundaries of traditional music. I don’t think he set out to be different for the sake of standing out, I think he did it for sake of the music itself. He just sought after good music, music that moved him, and that is so inspiring to me.”