Bluegrass Festival gets underway Thursday


The three-day Lamar County Bluegrass Festival kicks off Thursday with the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys from Kentucky as some of the nation’s best pickers and grinners hit the stage at the Lamar County Multipurpose Center.

Thursday night’s entertainment will consist of mostly Gospel music groups, according to Promoter Bertie Sullivan, the five-time Bluegrass Promoter of the Year for the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America. Other Thursday entertainment includes Shallow Creek of Picayune and the Russell Burton Family.

The Farm Hands of Nashville, Tennessee, will be the headliners on Friday, with the addition of Cedar Creek from central Florida. The Kody Norris Show of East Tennessee leads the stage on Saturday, along with Catahoula Drive from Louisiana and Tyler Carroll and the Pine Ridge Bluegrass from Mississippi.

Crossroads from Lamar County will be the host bluegrass band for all three days of the festival.

Sullivan said the festival is a place to “Reunite with Friends and Family at Purvis, Where the Music Entwines with the Longleaf Pine.”

The festival is a ticketed event and some RV sites are still available. Sullivan said tickets have already been purchased by festival enthusiasts from Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida.

The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys have rambled far from home, touring throughout the United States and Europe. However, the four members of the group – C.J. Lewandowski (vocals, mandolin), Jereme Brown (vocals, banjo), Josh “Jug” Rinkel (vocals, guitar) and Jasper Lorentzen (bass) – remain close to their musical roots .

“We want to take the best from all the bluegrass pioneers,” said Brown, the band’s youngest member and a fourth-generation banjo player. “That’s why C.J. plays the Bill Monroe-style mandolin, and I play a Ralph Stanley-style banjo. It all ties together. It works.”

With more than 60 national awards and nominations, the Farm Hands are one of the most exciting and in-demand bluegrass bands in America. Touring more than 150 dates each year, this talented foursome features veterans of the world famous Grand Ole Opry, Grammy Award winners, hit songwriters and celebrated instrumentalists.

Members of the group include Tim Graves, who was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Preservation Hall Of Fame in 2015, won Dobro Player Of The Year Award in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009-18 and won a Grammy for “The Great Dobro Sessions.”

Daryl Mosley won the Songwriter Of The Year Award in 2016-17 and

Song Of The Year Award for "Ask the Blind Man, He Saw It All" in 2006 and "Rural Route" in 2018.

Keith Tew won the Song Of The Year Award for "Am I A Fool" in 2000 and "Dig In The Dirt" in 2017. And Don Hill was nominated for Banjo Player Of The Year in 2017 and 2018.

The Kody Norris show is known for its sharp professional appearance, complete with colorful rhinestone suits and cowboy hats. It gives a bluegrass fan one of the most solid, entertaining and animated performances they will ever experience.

The band works regularly on the Cumberland Highlanders Show, a weekly Bluegrass Program on the RFD-TV network.

The Bluegrass Festival is sponsored by the Lamar County Board of Supervisors, Saga Music and Blueridge Guitars, B95 Pine Belt Country, ChordBuddy, Bourne Brothers Printing Company, Deering Banjos, Hub City SPOKES, Mississippi Music and Coca-Cola Bottling.

Sound and mixing will be handled by Butch Cooley and the emcee will be Marvin Poole of Louisiana.

Showtimes begin at noon. Admission prices are $25 each day or $60 for a three-day pass.