The week before Memorial Day each year is highlighted by one of Effingham’s largest and premier events. The 39th Bluegrass and Gospel Music Festival runs May 21-25.
Visitors to the 34-acre Mossy Oak Music Park will enjoy bluegrass and gospel music done the traditional acoustic style, as well as great high lonesome vocal harmonies.
“Last May we set an attendance record and we’re expecting and preparing for what looks like it’s going to be another great crowd,” said Doug Lanier, who with his father, Allen Lanier and their family, have hosted the festivals on their family farm two miles out of historic Guyton since 2002.
The beautiful award-winning 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 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.
“There are a number of International Bluegrass Music Association music award winners in the May lineup. Among those on this year’s program are such noted performers as The James King Band, Blast of Grass, Sometimes Later Band, The Velvet Blue, The Kevin Prater Band, The Florida State Bluegrass Band, Trinity River Band, the Larry Gillis Band, Barbwire Bluegrass, as well as others.”
Members of each of the military branches will be recognized, and special guest 88-year-old U.S. Marine Sgt. (ret.) Neal Corbin of Rincon will present the colors during the special ceremony that is a part of each Memorial Day celebration.
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 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,” Lanier said. “So, if it’s that traditional and unique bluegrass and southern gospel music sound, in an alcohol-free environment, that folks like then we have the place for them. Just bring along a lawn chair, then just sit back and enjoy.”
The five-day festival program, now in its 13th year, begins with a covered dish supper Wednesday at 6 p.m., followed by an “open stage” that gives local talent an opportunity to showcase their musical skills beginning at 7 p.m. Music starts at 2 p.m. each day and runs to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Next week’s big festival will conclude with a special gospel music presentation and a worship service on Sunday at 8:30 a.m., led by Vernon Edenfield, pastor of the Oliver Baptist Church.
Tickets are $20 daily or $45 for the full five days; half-price for children 12-15; and those under 12 are free. Camping with hookups are $15/$20 per night. Tent camping is $5 per night.
For camping reservations and additional information, call 772-5142 or 772-3467 or visit the park on the Web at www.mossyoakmusicpark.com.