GUYTON — The sprawling 34-acre music venue in Guyton is described in a number of ways.
The family owned and operated Mossy Oak Music Park has been called by some the “Best bluegrass music park in all the Southeast;” others say it’s “the finest outdoor music venue in all of Georgia.”
Those who follow bluegrass and gospel music festivals will all agree — it’s not only a beautiful site but also one of the premier music parks to be found here or anywhere.
Allen Lanier, with his son Doug and daughter Rebecca and their respective families, along with a host of park workers and volunteers, maintain the pristine family farm on which the park is located.
“We completed work on the park over a 14-month period and presented our first festival in May of 2002,” Lanier said. “In the seven years since that opening festival we’ve been privileged to present some of finest bluegrass and gospel entertainers you’ll find any where,” Lanier added.
More than 150 groups have appeared over the nine years, including such noted bluegrass icons as: Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, James King, Larry Sparks, Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen, the Lewis Family, the Isaacs, Marty Rabon, Melvin Goins, Eddie and Martha Adcock, David Davis and the Warrior River Boys, Dean Osborne, the Larry Gillis Band, and many others well known names in bluegrass and gospel music.
If you are an acoustic music fan, then the upcoming five-day October festival will delight you. It all begins Wednesday evening with a covered dish supper and culminates on Sunday morning. Among the groups performing are such well-known groups as Lizzie Long and Little Roy Lewis of the famous Lewis Family, The Bluegrass Mountaineers from Colorado, the popular Larry Gillis Band from Georgia, the all-girl Hazel Holler Band from Kentucky, the great Fontana Sunset Band, Evan & Alex and the Hard Driving Bluegrass Band, Georgia Grass, the host Lonesome Whistle Band, as well as others.
According to Rebecca Rose, “Our park has more than 500 level, grassed camp sites, a large auto parking area, a covered pavilion that seats more than 700, a full kitchen, playground, museum, flea market, bath house, dump stations, vendors, and many other amenities.”
They also welcome tent campers and golf carts, too.
Everything at Mossy Oak Music Park says “welcome” to those who visit. “It’s all designed and intended to make those who visit us feel comfortable as they relax and enjoy great fellowship while they are entertained,” said Russell Rose, Lanier’s son-in-law and a respected guitar player in his own right, as well as a central part of the Lonesome Whistle Band, along with his wife, Rebecca and son, Evan, who play the acoustic bass and mandolin, respectfully. By special invitation, the Rose family band played the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area where their performance was record and filmed live.
In addition to the bands that will perform, a special “open stage” time is set aside on Wednesday evening following the covered dish supper and from noon-2 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. “
The open stage allows musicians, bluegrass and otherwise, to perform, often with friends and others, on stage and under the lights before a large audience, said Doug Lanier.
It’s the responsibility of Doug Lanier’s team to manage all sound and lighting for the entire five-day festival.
“The great success we enjoy is a result of many things and many people. The leadership of the City of Guyton and Effingham County Commissioners the support of businesses and our citizens are no small part of our efforts to host 2,000 visitors to a festival.” Lanier said. “We know they impact the area all around us as they enjoy themselves and visit this special place the folks in the Savannah and surrounding areas of Georgia and South Carolina call home.
“Our philosophy is simple, to approach every festival as if it was our first as far as our enthusiasm and willingness to welcome visitors to our area. At our May festival we had visitors here from 34 states and two Canadian provinces. And they visit the sites, businesses, and enjoy the recreational facilities we have to offer in Effingham, Chatham, Bulloch, Liberty and many other surrounding counties.”
Tickets for the festival are $20 daily for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday or $35 for a full Wednesday through Sunday ticket. Children ages 12-15 are half price and there is no charge for those 12 and under. Be sure and take a lawn chair and a desire to just it back and listen to one of the country’s great genres of music in Guyton.
Mossy Oak Music Park is located at 533 Old Louisville Rd., three miles out of Guyton. For camping reservations or additional information concerning the festival call (912) 772-5142 or (912) 772-3467. You can also reserve a site and purchase tickets on line at www.mossyoakmusicpark.com as well as take a virtual “tour” of the park.