PRINCETON — A park that was once a venue for major music festivals drawing thousands of people will become that venue again this August when a one-day event comes to Mercer County.
Music in the Mountains: A Celebration of Hope is scheduled for Aug. 28 at Glenwood Recreation Park from 2 to 10 p.m. The Mercer County Commission and the festival’s organizers outlined their plans Thursday at the park.
The concert’s site will be the same place where an amphitheater once stood. Performers coming to Music in the Mountains will be using a portable stage, but soliciting bids for a new permanent stage is on the county commission’s June 8 meeting agenda, Commissioner Greg Puckett said.
“We’re very excited. This is an amazing opportunity for Mercer County,” Puckett said. “This is something that we have not done in over 40 years that we know of. I can still remember a bluegrass concert growing up as a kid and really being something special in our community. This is something that we need now, more than we have in a very long time.”
Jonathan Buckner of the band Chosen Road, attended Thursday’s announcement with band member Zach Alvis of Bluefield to help announce the performers coming to Music in the Mountains. Chosen Road will be the festival’s host band.
“This year’s event will feature Grand Ole Opry stars including T. Graham Brown, The Malpass Brothers, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Jeff and Sheri Easter, and Delnora Reed,” Buckner said.
Glenwood Recreation Park once hosted musical festivals that brought in thousands of people.
“We love the rich musical heritage we have here in southern West Virginia,” Buckner said. “And really, for several years now as we’ve been playing all around the globe playing at different events, different festivals, for years I’ve wanted to bring a festival here bringing bluegrass music, gospel music, country music to southern West Virginia. And then digging into history, I actually found out that back in the 1920s there was a fiddler’s convention that started out here in Glenwood Park, and in the late 1930s it drew as many as 10,000 people here to Mercer County, which is just amazing.”
“That fiddler’s convention morphed into a music festival that ran until the 1980s,” Buckner recalled. “The Grand Ole Opry down in Nashville, Tenn., they would bring their traveling show right here to Glenwood Park for music events.”
Buckner said that the community has rallied around the effort to bring music festivals back to the park.
“With the new amphitheater that’s being built at Glenwood Park, it just make sense for the park to be the home of this new festival. The park, the county commission, and the CVB (Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau) have been so supportive,” he said. “It’s a win for everyone. We are going to be able to introduce a lot of new people to the beauty of Mercer County and all we have to offer through this festival. We expect it to be a boost to tourism, and in turn, help local business owners across the board.”
“It’s also going to be a positive family-friendly event for our entire community,” Buckner added. “You can bring your kids, your mom and your dad, your grandma to enjoy this event. Anyone who is interested in being a volunteer and helping to make this day a success is encouraged to reach out to us.”
A lot of tourism in Appalachia is tied into the region’s music, said Jamie Null, the CVB’s executive director. The festival will be an opportunity to introduce visitors to the local culture.
“I couldn’t be more excited to see it return,” Null said about a music festival coming back to Glenwood Park.
Buckner said that the goal was to create an annual music festival. County Commissioner Bill Archer said that the commission has been working to build a permanent amphitheater at the park.
“I just look forward to this happening, I have been for a long time.” County Commission President Gene Buckner said. “I think it’s going to be a great thing for the county.”
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the gate. There will be a 20 percent discount for veterans, first responders, healthcare workers and teachers. Tickets can be purchased at www.musicinthemountainswv.com, Puckett said.
A variety of food trucks will also be on site for the festival, Buckner said.
— Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org