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Bluegrass gospel festival set for Saturday

Features Editor

Those who enjoy bluegrass gospel music are in for a real treat Saturday when a "load" of talented musicians will converge on Pioneer Village for a gigantic Bluegrass Gospel Festival featuring the world famous Sullivan Family.

The Sullivan Family has been a favorite among bluegrass gospel fans for more than 50 years. They have carried their music with a gospel message all over the United States and in countries around the world.

The Sullivan Family has appeared on television shows and on the Grand Ol’ Opry from Nashville.

"Anyone who loves bluegrass gospel music will be familiar with the Sullivan Family," said Amanda Porter, who is heading promotions for the Bluegrass Gospel Music Association, sponsor of the festival.

Porter is also a member of the Lighthouse String Ensemble, which will be one of six other bands to perform at the festival. The festival will get underway at 2 p.m. at Pioneer Village, about eight miles north of Troy on U.S. Highway 231.

Also performing will be The Wilkerson Family, Higher Reach, The Gospel Valley Boys, The Ray Stinson Band and The Little Texas Bluegrass Band.

Emcees for the show are Charlie Costner, WMGY, and Dereck Snellgrove, WELB.

"The Bluegrass Gospel Festival will be what the South is all about," Porter said. "It will take us back to the time when bluegrass gospel music was played on the porch of log cabins on purely acoustic instruments and straight from the heart."

Those who aren’t familiar with the sounds of bluegrass gospel are invited to come out and be a part of the music that is the South.

"You’ll never know whether you like bluegrass gospel unless you’re exposed to it," Porter said. "This will be an opportunity to hear some of the best."

Those who enjoy picking and singing with pick-up groups are invited to bring along their acoustic instruments and join the parking lot picking.

"Calvin Bodiford will be there and he’ll help get the picking started and then probably go on stage," Porter said. "He is a familiar picker around Pike County and a popular one."

There is a cafe on-site at the village and food and ice cold drinks will be available.

"We are hoping for a little break from the heat but we are going to put up tents that will provide shade from the sun," Porter said.

Admission to the festival is $8 for adults. Children under 12 will be admitted free.

All proceeds from the festival will benefit Pike Foster Care Program for abused and neglected children.