The week before Memorial Day each year is highlighted by one of Effingham’s largest and premier events dedicated to honoring veterans.
The 45th Bluegrass and Gospel Music Festival runs May 25-29. Visitors to the 34-acre park will enjoy bluegrass and gospel music done the traditional acoustic style, along with great vocal harmonies.
“Last May we set an attendance record and we’re expecting and preparing for what looks like another great crowd,” said Doug Lanier, who along with his father Allen and their family have hosted the bluegrass and gospel festivals on their family farm two miles out of historic Guyton since 2002.
The award-winning 34-acre Park provides camp sites for more than 500 motor homes, trailers, and tents. Music fans who frequent the bluegrass festival circuit voted Mossy Oak Music Park one of the “best outdoor bluegrass music venues in the Southeast.”
“Our great lineup of entertainers next week includes some of the very best touring bluegrass bands,” Lanier said. “They’re coming to entertain us from Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina.
“Among the 10 bands featured are a number of International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) music award winners on our May lineup. On this year’s program are such headliners as seven-time IMBA Vocal Group of the Year, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Rutherford County Line, Darrell Webb Band, Larry Gillis Band, Highway 41 South, Nitro Ride, Recycled Grass, Doug Flowers Band, Blast of Grass, Sometimes Later Band, as well as others,” Lanier added.
Members of each of our military branches will be again be recognized and special guest 91-year-old Marine Staff Sgt. (ret.) Neal Corbin of Rincon will present the colors during the special ceremony that is a traditional part of each Memorial Day festival..
“We’re excited to have the excellent staff from Horton’s Restaurant in Springfield preparing and serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the festival. Their extended hours and expanded menu was a big hit at our April festival,” Lanier said.
The park has a covered theater/pavilion that seats more than 700, a large lighted handicap accessible parking area, an on-site daily flea market, a full kitchen, playground, museum, Snack Shack, bath house with washer and dryer, vendors, dump stations, and a number of other amenities, including two hours of free bingo every day. Pets and golf carts are also welcome.
“Everything our courteous staff does here is directed at making our guests feel welcome and well-entertained,” Allen Lanier said. “So, if it’s that traditional and unique bluegrass and Southern gospel music sound, in an alcohol and drug-free environment, that folks like then we have the place for them. Just bring along a lawn chair, then just sit back and enjoy yourself.”
The five-day festival, now in its 15th year, begins with a covered dish supper Wednesday at 6 p.m., followed by an “open stage” that provides local talent an opportunity to showcase their musical skills beginning at 7 p.m. Music starts at 1 p.m and runs to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
The festival will conclude with a special worship service on Sunday at 9 a.m., led by Pastor Brad Proudfoot of New Hope Christian Church, and inspirational music from Highway 41 South bluegrass group.
Daily tickets Thursday are $20; Friday and Saturday are $25 or $50 for the full 5-days (a $20 savings); half price for children 12-15; and those under 12 are free. Camping with hookups are $20/$25 per night. Tent camping is $5 per night. For camping reservations, tickets and additional information call 772-5142 or 772-3467 or visit the park on the web at www.mossyoakmusicpark.com.