Entertainment and Music Heritage/History Lifestyle

Annual Bluff Mountain Festival Brings Music, Art to Hot Springs on June 15

White Rock Revival

The 27th annual Bluff Mountain Festival will take place on Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Hot Springs Resort & Spa in Hot Springs. The event, which is free to attend, was started as a way to raise awareness of US Forest Service plans to log Bluff Mountain. “The festival has always drawn people together by showcasing traditional string band music, both old-time and bluegrass, mountain dancing and ballad singing—three essential aspects of WNC’s traditional music culture and community,” says festival director Brandon Johnson. “Bluff has become an institution in the life of Madison County. I’ve seen kids grow up coming to the festival and now performing on stage.”

This year’s performers include MCAC JAM, Appalachian Heart Strings, Madison County Ballad Singers, Reeves & Dillen, Newfound Gap, Green Grass Cloggers, Stoney Creek Boys, Southern Appalachian Cloggers, Sourwood Ridge, White Rock Revival, NC Heritage Award winner Rhonda Gouge, and Brown-Hudson Award winner Roger Howell. “It is not just one type of music all day long,” says Jackson Adams, mandolinist for White Rock Revival. “You will get a great mix of ballads, old-time, bluegrass and even some gospel.”

All of the performers donate their time and talents to the Bluff Mountain Festival, which is a fundraiser for the Madison County Arts Council. There will also be an auction of regional items, an artist market and food.

This year’s Bluff Mountain Festival is dedicated to the memory of legendary folk musician and festival founder Betty Smith, who was known for her vocals and talent on psaltery, mountain dulcimer, guitar and autoharp. “For every edition of the festival in which she was able, Betty performed and sang Bill Edd Wheeler’s ‘The Coming of the Roads,’ a song that encapsulated the feelings of conflict between place, progress and living,” says Johnson. “Bluff started as a way to protect the wilderness and identity of Madison County, and I’m very happy to say that it has accomplished and continues to accomplish those goals.”

The Hot Springs Resort & Spa is located at 315 Bridge Street, Hot Springs. For more information, contact the Madison County Arts Council at 828.649.1301 or visit MadisonCountyArts.com.

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