Bluegrass music continues to grow in popularity, according to the 1997 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts recently released by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The NEA's study, as reported by the current International Bluegrass Music Association's newsletter, estimates that the number of U.S. adults (18 and older) who listen to bluegrass music has grown from about 54 million in 1992 to about 82 million in 1997.
The survey, sponsored by the research division of NEA and conducted nationwide by the Westat Corp., polled 12,349 adults.
Area bluegrass fans who don't mind traveling can catch the Summer Bluegrass in Georgia Festival Friday, June 11, and Saturday, June 12, at The Gospel Barn, 3472 Hogansville Road in LaGrange, north of Columbus. The indoor facility is smoke- and alcohol-free.
Headliners include Dr. Ralph Stanley with the Clinch Mountain Boys and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver on Friday and Mac Wiseman, the Osborne Brothers and Jim and Jesse McReynolds on Saturday.
Hours are 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and 1-10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $18 in advance ($20 at the door) for Friday, $20 in advance ($22 at the door) for Saturday, or $35 for both days. Call (800) 832-5076 or check the Web site (www.hoofers.com).
When I talked with Mr. Stanley a few weeks ago, before The Lewis Family's bluegrass festival, I asked him how he looked so good at 72 after being on the road for decades.
"Good, clean living, I guess," he replied.
Then he added, "About half the time, I take spells with what I watch, and the other times I take spells with what I don't watch. I exercise a bit walking around my farm, but no certain amount. I've always done that. I've got a little farm of about 16 acres with a few head of cattle and five or six horses, and they keep me busy."
BEST TO MARK:
Congratulations go out to a friend of this column, Mark Drudge, a Nashville booking agent of major bluegrass acts. Mr. Drudge recently was elected vice chairman of the International Bluegrass Music Association's board of directors. Andy Owens, a Dallas marketing consultant, was elected chairman.
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY:
The community of Luckenbach, Texas, made famous in the Willie Nelson/Waylon Jennings song of the same name, celebrated its sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) on May 30.
It was founded in 1849 by pioneer settler Albert Luckenbach, who apparently also was the namesake for the nearby town of Albert, Texas.
You can find out a whole lot more by calling up the colorful Web site www.luckenbachtexas.com.