Ramblin' Rhodes

Stroll down memory lane with music columnist Don Rhodes.

Ramblin' Rhodes: Little Roy and Lizzy plan bluegrass festival for May

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When I opened a Christmas card last week from The Little Roy and Lizzy Show (Little Roy Lewis and Lizzy Long), I was surprised to learn they have created the “Little Roy & Lizzy Music Festival” to be held the first weekend in May.

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Lizzy Long and Little Roy Lewis will perform all four days during the Little Roy & Lizzy Music Festival planned for May in Lincolnton, Ga. Bluegrass stars scheduled to perform include Rhonda Vincent, Marty Raybon, Jimmy C. Newman and more.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Lizzy Long and Little Roy Lewis will perform all four days during the Little Roy & Lizzy Music Festival planned for May in Lincolnton, Ga. Bluegrass stars scheduled to perform include Rhonda Vincent, Marty Raybon, Jimmy C. Newman and more.

They will be presenting this at Elijah Clark State Park, 10 miles east of Lincolnton, Ga., with respected bluegrass festival promoters Norman Adams and Tony Anderson of Dahlonega, Ga.

The lineup for the event May 1-4, 2013, includes The Little Roy and Lizzy Show (all four days), Grand Ole Opry star Jimmy C. Newman, bluegrass music superstar Rhonda Vincent, former Shenandoah country music group lead vocalist Marty Raybon, bluegrass gospel stars The Crowe Brothers and The Lewis Tradition, Gaither Homecoming TV series stars Jeff & Sheri Easter, bluegrass band The Hoyles (reuniting) and several other gospel and bluegrass groups.

The news is surprising because in 2009, The Lewis Family bluegrass-gospel group of Lincolnton ended its annual Lewis Family Homecoming & Bluegrass Festival after 22 years of hosting it the first weekend in May at Elijah Clark State Park. It was operated and owned by promoters Adams and Anderson.

“It is strictly a business decision,” Adams said at that time about ending the festival, “and we just decided to call it quits; plus there is the health of members of The Lewis Family.”

Adams said the event only broke even two or three times in its two-decade history.

Family members often complained the event was attracting national attention and Lewis Family fans from far-off states but was not receiving much patronage from Lincolnton-area residents.

“We thought, ‘Man this one is going to be great,’ ” Adams said, “but it never did grow and kept lingering with the same size crowd every year.”

The end of that festival also signaled the official end of the legendary Lewis Family group (members of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame) whose weekly show on Augusta station WJBF was one of the longest-running programs in U.S. television history; airing for more than 50 years.

The dissolution of the group resulted in long-time members Miggie Lewis and Polly Lewis Copsey retiring and the emergence of two new split family groups: The Lewis Tradition and The Little Roy & Lizzy Show.

So, why is the bluegrass and gospel music festival being revived the same weekend in May at the same Georgia state park?

One reason is that it is sort of being coupled with Lincolnton residents Jeff & Sheri Easter’s fifth annual Homecoming bluegrass and gospel music festival being held the next weekend (May 9-11, 2013) at The Lewis Family Homeplace, 1935 Lewis Family Road, just west of Lincolnton.

Jeff & Sheri Easter will perform all three days. Other announced performers will be Karen Peck & New River, The Hoppers, The Lewis Tradition, Gaither Homecoming TV series stars Jason Crabb and Lynda Randle and The Little Roy & Lizzy Show.

You can find all the details about both festivals at littleroyandlizzy.com,
jeffandsherieaster.com
and adamsandanderson
bluegrass.com.

No matter the reason for the Little Roy & Lizzy Music Festival being started, it will mean thousands of dollars again being pumped into the Lincolnton, Washington and Thomson, Ga., economy through fans buying gasoline, food and other supplies and staying in area motels.

That income was lost when The Lewis Family Homecoming & Bluegrass Festival ended in 2009.

And the Easters’ Homecoming bluegrass and gospel music festival keeps growing in popularity every year.

LADY ANTEBELLUM’S CHARITY: Lady Antebellum members Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley, formerly of Evans, and Hillary Scott of Nashville, Tenn., have created their own charity effort they are calling “LadyAID.”

Through the effort, funds will be raised for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Uni­versity in Nashville; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.; and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The global efforts myLIFEspeaks and The UN Refugee Agency will also benefit from the charity.

“The opportunity to play music on stages all around the world has given us so much happiness,” said Haywood, whose parents live in North Augusta.

“By establishing LadyAID, we’re going to be able to put a new focus on accomplishing an off-stage goal we have as a band, which is to help children in need.”

The trio’s latest recording accomplishment is its Christmas CD On This Winter’s Night.

Fans can catch a holiday special – CMA Country Christmas – featuring the group that will air on ABC at 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, and Saturday, Dec. 22; and
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23.

JEFF BARNES ELVIS FUNDRAISER: Elvis tribute artist Jeff Barnes again is performing his homage to the king of rock ’n’ roll at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, in the Greenbrier High School auditorium, 5114 Riverwood Parkway in Evans, to benefit the school’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students. For advance tickets, call daytime (706) 650-6040, Ext. 5807 or 5808 or nighttime (706) 394-3916.

HEPHZIBAH OPRY CHRISTMAS SHOW: The Hephzibah (Ga.) Opry offers its Christmas show at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, in Richmond Lodge 412, 4391 Saxon Drive, behind the Southern Bank in Hephzibah.

The show features Eryn Eubanks and the Family Fold. Admission is free with donations appreciated.

Call (706) 755-4584 or e-mail douggrass@comcast.net for any questions.


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