, Corbin, KY


June 4, 2014

Sally Gap Festival kicks off Thursday

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

It’s almost here.

Thursday night kicks off the 7th annual Sally Gap Bluegrass Festival — and this year’s festival promises to bring good food, good music and good times to Whitley County.

The bluegrass festival begins Thursday at 6 p.m. and runs all day Friday and Saturday.

The biggest change for this year’s event is location — and Sarah Williams, one of the event coordinators, said the new location is expected to be an improvement.

“We had to change locations this year,” she said. “It’s much closer to town and much flatter for the performances.”

She said the Sally Gap Bluegrass Festival group is directly working with Whitley County in order to put on the event, sponsored by Whitley County Tourism.

“We’re really happy with the new location,” Williams said. “We’ve had lots of help and lots of support from the community.”

However, while the location may have changed, the entertainment for the adults and children has not.

Williams said there will be bluegrass music, as well as paid rough RV sites, free rough camping with ticket purchase — and free children’s activities.

She said that among the workshops available will be a first-time appearance by Lonesome River Band member Sammy Shelor, who will lead a banjo workshop 2 p.m. Saturday.

“He’s been in the music business for over 30 years,” Williams said, adding there are no additional fees for any of the festival workshops.

Nathan Bray, of Southern Sun, will host a guitar workshop 1 p.m. Saturday, and Virgil Bowlin of Peerless Mountain will offer a shape-note singing workshop at noon Saturday.

Williams said as they are a non-profit organization, they push to keep the prices low so families can afford to come enjoy the festival.

Children age 12 and under are free, and teens age 13-17 are $5 per day. Adults are $50 for all three days, or $25 for Friday and Saturday and $15 for Thursday.

Williams said there will also be the children’s programs, as well as a free T-shirt for participants.

“A lot of people have worked really hard to pull this thing off,” Williams said.

She also noted that Tri-County Catering will provide food for the event — and said they are known for their good, home-cooked food.

The schedule is as follows:


Wilderness Road takes the stage from 6-6:45 p.m. This group is a bluegrass/bluegrass gospel group, according to the Facebook site. Wilderness Road was founded by singer Mark Carpenter and lead guitarist B.J. Mason of Rockcastle County. Other members are Earl Durham on banjo, Ken Shackelford on mandolin and tenor vocals, and Dan McWilliams on bass.

From 6:55 - 7:40 p.m. Sibling Rivalry will perform their musical talents.

Then from 7:50-8:35 the group Southern Sun will take over the stage. The group consists of Steve Gibbs on bass, Nathan Bray on guitar, Josh Hamblin on mandolin and Tim Hale on the banjo.

Tidalwave Road then performs from 8:45-9:30 p.m. and according to their Facebook page, the group has a new CD out.

Then from 9:40 p.m. until “whenever” there will be an All Star Jam.


The music kicks off at noon Friday with Turning Ground taking the stage. The newly formed five-member group is based in Salyersville.

From 12:55-1:40 p.m., Tidalwave Road performs again, followed by the Dixie Ryders from 1:50-2:35 p.m.

Virgil Bowlin & Peerless Mountain take the stage from 2:45-3:30 p.m., and that group’s founding members, Virgil and David Bowlin, grew up on part of the old Peerless Coal Camp near Williamsburg.

High Tymes then gets their chance to perform from 3:40-4:25 p.m., followed by Audie Blaylock & Redline from 4:35-5:20. Then a dinner break will be from 5:20-6 p.m.

Turning Ground then performs again from 6-6:45 p.m., followed by the Dixie Ryders from 6:55-7:40 p.m.

Virgil Bowlin & Peerless Mountain will take the stage again from 7:50-8:35 p.m., followed by High Tymes from 8:45-9:30 p.m. Audie Blaylock & Redline then performs from 9:40-10:25 p.m.

The John Cowan Band closes out the evening with a concert that begins at 10:35 p.m.


Music performances begin at 11 a.m. Saturday with the Whitley County Colonel Strings on stage until noon. This group is led by Rob Powers, a teacher at Whitley County Primary School.

From noon until 12:45 p.m., Wilderness Road performs.

From 12:55-1:40 p.m., Laurel River Line takes the stage. This group originated in London in 2007, according to their website.

The Rigney Family Band will then perform from 1:50-2:35 p.m. — and according to their website, the group is based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Southern Sun then takes the stage again from 2:45-3:30 p.m..

Adkins & Loudermilk then perform from 3:40-4:25 p.m. — followed by the Lonesome River Band from 4:35-5:20 p.m.

A dinner break is slated from 5:20-6 p.m.

Sibling Rivalry then takes the stage from 6-6:45 p.m.

Laurel River Line performs from 6:55-7:40 p.m., then The Rigney Family Band from 7:50-8:35 p.m.

Southern Sun takes center stage from 8:45-9:30 p.m., followed by Adkins & Loudermilk from 9:40-10:25 p.m.

The Lonesome River Band closes out the evening and the festival with a concert from 10:35 until whenever.

For more information on this seventh annual bluegrass festival, visit

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