Inaugural Earl Scruggs Festival set for 2020 at Tryon Equestrian Center


The Tryon Equestrian Center/ photo by Erik Olsen

The inaugural Earl Scruggs Music Festival is set for Labor Day Weekend 2020 at Tryon Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C., according to a press release from Bonfire Music Group.

Bonfire Music Group announced the creation of a new division, Bonfire Management, and said that the entity, led by music industry veteran Steve Johnson, will oversee the festival. Johnson spent several years working as artist relations manager for the popular MerleFest music festival in Wilkes County and recently served as tour manager for Asheville’s Steep Canyon Rangers.

The two-day event is a collaboration between the Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, N.C., and WNCW radio station on the campus of Isothermal Community College. Bonfire Management, which is opening in East Nashville, Tenn., on Aug. 1, will oversee the festival.

The festival will encompass bluegrass, folk and Americana music, and more. The musical lineup will feature top tier musicians appearing on two stages, according to the press release. The first lineup announcement, and limited early bird ticket options, will be made available at the International Bluegrass Music Association World of Bluegrass festivities in Raleigh in late September. Additional details will be coming via the Bonfire Management website.

Earl Scruggs is a legendary banjo master who is credited with popularizing a three-finger banjo picking style that is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music and helped move the banjo from a background musical instrument to a spotlighted solo instrument.

Earl Scruggs was born Jan. 6, 1924, in the Flint Hill community of Cleveland County, N.C., a small community just outside of Boiling Springs about 10 miles west of Shelby.

From wikipedia on Scruggs:

Scruggs’ career began at age 21 when he was hired to play in Bill Monroe’s band, The Blue Grass Boys. The name “bluegrass” eventually became the eponym for the entire genre of country music now known by that title. Despite considerable success with Monroe, performing on the Grand Ole Opry and recording classic hits like “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” Scruggs resigned from the group in 1946 due to their exhausting touring schedule. Fellow band member Lester Flatt resigned as well, and he and Scruggs later paired up in a new group they called Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys.