Bluegrass music returns to Blue Grass Park Labor Day Weekend 2019
Cody Johnson grew up down the road from Carlton Haney’s Blue Grass Park in Camp Springs, NC. His father parked cars there and at Berryville. Even as it declined, what Carlton called the Original Blue Grass Festival formed an indelible part of his childhood. “I grew up in this community and have lived here my whole life,” he explains. “My mom and dad raised me going to Camp Springs, Berryville, and Bass Mountain. My dad was actually in the movie Bluegrass: Country Soul.”
Forty-nine years to the day after the first festival at Blue Grass Park in 1969, Johnson and his wife of 18 years, Donna, became owners of the festival grounds. Within a couple of days, the Johnsons had already cleared the primary setting area, begun cleaning up the site, and begun evaluating the status of the stage, bath house, office, and Kathleen’s Kitchen.
The Johnsons are presenting the first full featured festival at the historic park on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day Weekend 2019, August 31 and September 1. Headliners include Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Ralph Stanley II, Blue Highway, and Russell Moore & Third Tyme Out. www.campspringsevents.com
“We have watched it waste away for a long time and feel really blessed to be able to buy it and return it to what it once was,” says Cody Johnson. “It’s going to take some time but with hard work and prayers I’m confident we can have a festival here next Labor Day weekend 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first festival.”
The Johnsons plan to operate the park as a multi-genre outdoor music venue throughout the months was the weather is conducive. “This is a dream come true,” says Foundation president Becky Johnson (no relation), a long-time bluegrass DJ in Kentucky and North Carolina. She formed the non-profit to save the site.
With their purchase putting the site in good hands, the focus of the Camp Springs Music Foundation will shift to preserving and making the public aware of the history of Blue Grass Park, Carlton Haney, and bluegrass festivals, in addition to supporting the efforts of the Johnson. People can already make tax-deductible donations to the Blue Grass Park project at http://campspringsmusicfoundation.org/help-save-blue-grass-park/